Suzuki maintains pace and points places through tough day two in NZ
The second day of Rally New Zealand included the three longest stages of the event. Once again, the story was about finding grip through the deep gravel, which coated the fast, but technical North Island roads. Despite those tricky conditions, P-G Andersson drove consistently and quickly through the day’s six stages to maintain his grip on eighth place. Toni Gardemeister ensured both Suzukis were in the top 10 after another fine day behind the wheel of his ninth-placed SX4 WRC.

Car news – Suzuki SX4 WRC n.11 (Gardemeister), n.12 (Andersson):
Andersson’s Suzuki SX4 WRC ran without any problems throughout the second day, but the Swede made some changes to the car to try and improve the traction and damping. The sister car of Gardemeister suffered a brake problem in the Franklin stage, probably caused by a stone. Gardemeister managed to get through the stage, back in the service area the team changed all of the components and both cars enjoyed a trouble-free afternoon.

Driver news:
Toni Gardemeister: “This morning was okay for the first two stages. It was slippery, worse than yesterday – there was more gravel around. But then we had the brake trouble in the third stage, caused by a loss of the brake fluid, which unfortunately also affected the clutch. The afternoon was good again. I had driven these stages before and like them, they’re nice and quick, like the traditional Rally New Zealand roads.”

P-G Andersson: “I am in the points and am really happy for that. I’m not going to take any risks to try and catch the car ahead. At the same time, I have a nice gap to the car behind. This morning was quite hard work, though. The stages were so full of gravel, it was hard to find a line and to get any grip. We tried to soften the car through the morning. That helps with the traction, but it means the car loses precision in the faster sections. For the afternoon, where the stages were faster, we stiffened the roll bars, which worked quite well. The confidence was not so bad this afternoon.”

Team news:
Paul Wilding, Suzuki World Rally Team manager: “It’s been another strong day for the Suzuki team and the SX4 WRC. Toni’s brake trouble was frustrating this morning, but otherwise it’s been good today. These conditions are not easy, all of the teams are talking about the gravel and the same problem. However we’re really happy with the performance of the car, the drivers and the whole team.”

Leaderboard after Day 2
1. J-M Latvala/M Anttila 2h57m29.0sec
2. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen +9.3s
3. S Loeb/D Elena +13.3s
4. D Sordo/M Marti +15.7s
5. F Duval/P Pivato +1m40.9s
6. U Aava/K Sikk +2m49.8s
7. P Solberg/P Mills +2m52.8s
8. P-G Andersson/J Andersson +4m31.0s
9. T Gardemeister/T Tuominen +4m31.0s
10. F Villagra/J Perez Companc +6m56.8s

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