Suzuki crews ready to face the asphalt of Rallye Deutschland
Both Suzuki World Rally Cars completed as many runs through the shakedown as possible on Thursday morning, in order to try out different set-ups.

The Rallye Deutschland got underway tonight with a ceremonial start in the centre of Trier, underneath the Porta Nigra: the old Roman gateway into the city. Thousands of fans lined the streets to watch the cars cross the start ramp and parade their way through the medieval streets, before entering parc ferme. The real action starts tomorrow with the first of 19 all-asphalt special stages: the first time that the Suzuki SX4 WRC will have competed on sealed surfaces since the very start of the year in Monte Carlo.

Earlier today the cars completed the short 5.8-kilometre shakedown test: a final opportunity to test the cars and work on the set-up before the start of the rally. With none of the Suzuki drivers having sampled asphalt for more than six months, this was a valuable chance to refine the SX4 WRC’s settings before the event got underway. The weather today remained generally warm and dry: however, some rain is expected for tomorrow and over the rest of the weekend.

Car news – Suzuki SX4 WRC n.11 (Gardemeister), n.12 (Andersson):

Both cars completed as many runs through the shakedown as possible this morning, in order to try out different set-ups. The cars started off with what was quite a stiff suspension set-up, before gradually softening the settings to obtain the best compromise in terms of traction and grip. A number of modifications were made throughout the morning in preparation for the 352.89 competitive kilometres that lie ahead. Neither of the cars had any mechanical problems throughout the morning, and after the shakedown they were re-prepared at the service area in Trier for the ceremonial start that took place at 20:00 in the city centre.

Driver news:
Toni Gardemeister: “Actually my feeling with the car is quite good: just as it was in the shakedown for Rally Finland two weeks ago. I felt that there were still many areas where we could improve, but it’s not been a bad start to the rally. We used a hard-compound tyre in order to save the soft tyres for the rally, as we might need them if it starts raining during the event. The shakedown road was very slippery, although the grip definitely got better later. For this rally my focus is just to stay out of trouble and avoid going off the road. If we can manage to do that – which is far from easy – then we have a strong possibility of a good result.”

P-G Andersson: “I struggled a bit to find some confidence this morning, but the feeling eventually got better. I think it was a mixture of not having driven on asphalt for so long, and also my big crash in Finland two weeks ago. This is an event I don’t know very well either – I last drove here in 2005 – so there’s a bit of pressure on me. The challenge of this event is going to be finding the right compromise between speed and safety. Hopefully I will be able to do that, which will also allow us to learn more about the car on this surface for the coming events.”

Team news:
Paul Wilding, Suzuki World Rally Team Manager: “This rally marks the first time our car has been on asphalt since Monte Carlo – and of course it has changed considerably in those last seven months. Germany is also a very different type of rally to Monte Carlo, with lots of stop and start acceleration to test the traction of the SX4 WRC. The drivers and the team have not so much experience here, so the most important thing is for us to finish the rally, so that we can continue to gather information and improve the car.”

Back To News
Ypres 2008 Finland 2008 Finland 2008 Finland 2008