Suzuki crews poised to improve after solid start in Germany
After an action-packed opening day of the Rallye Deutschland, the Suzuki SX4 WRC of Toni Gardemeister is in the top 10 - and the similar car of P-G Andersson is right behind him in 11th. Both cars were perfectly reliable throughout the first day of the event, which was formed of six stages split into two loops of three with service at Trier.

However, the action was cut short by an accident that stopped SS5 and spectator overcrowding that forced the cancellation of SS6.

Deprived of the competitive kilometres needed to move up the leaderboard, the Suzukis have not yet had the chance to display their potential on this challenging event: the first asphalt round of the World Rally Championship since Monte Carlo in January. The weather remained dry and warm throughout the opening loop of stages, which were held close to the Mosel River near the German city of Trier.

Car news - Suzuki SX4 WRC n.11 (Gardemeister), n.12 (Andersson):
The drivers used the opening day of the Rallye Deutschland to get back into the groove of asphalt driving for the first time since Monte Carlo more than six months ago. Despite a completely new surface and a new specification of Pirelli tyre, neither Suzuki SX4 WRC encountered the slightest mechanical problem throughout the day.

Having used the shakedown test yesterday to start work on finding the best possible set-up for the event, both drivers continued to make solid progress throughout the day and they are equally confident of being able to improve their positions tomorrow.

Driver news:
Toni Gardemeister: "The day didn't start very well for me - I stalled the engine at one hairpin which meant I dropped time. There are so many corners and junctions in these stages that it?fs really hard on the brakes. Apart from that, the day has been good and the car has been absolutely fine."

P-G Andersson: "I have had a good feeling with the car today. It's been nice to drive. The stages are really tough and a big challenge for the car and driver. The SX4 WRC has been perfect, no problems at all. We made some changes to the set-up of the suspension this afternoon, which helped to get the car turned into corners easier. I'm looking forward to tomorrow. It's always a big test to go into the Baumholder stages and there are always a lot of people out there watching."

Team news:
Paul Wilding, Suzuki World Rally Team manager: "Our cars have been very reliable so far, and we are well-poised to improve our positions tomorrow on what are sure to be some extremely challenging stages, with the possibility of wet weather as well."

Day 1 Leaderboard
1. S Loeb/D Elena 1h00m22.5s
2. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen +19.9sec
3. D Sordo/M Marti +25.6sec
4. F Duval/P Pivato +38.7sec
5. J M Latvala/M Attila +55.7sec
6. P Solberg/P Mills +1m03.9sec
7. C Atkinson/S Prevot +1m34.0sec
8. H Solberg/C Menkerud +1m36.2sec
9. U Aava/K Sikk +1m39.4sec
10. T Gardemeister/T Tuominen +2m12.4sec

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