Suzuki World Rally Team

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Suzuki Sport
MEX 2008 RB 12 service 1.jpg
Full name Suzuki World Rally Team
Team principal(s) Nobuhiro Tajima[1]
Technical director Shusuke Inagaki[2]
Chassis Suzuki SX4
Tyres Pirelli
World Rally Championship career
Debut 2007 Tour de Corse[3]

The Suzuki World Rally Team, also known as the Suzuki WRC Challenge was Suzuki's factory backed World Rally Championship team, as part of the Suzuki Sport organization. The team debuted for the first time at the 2007 Tour de Corse in France.[4] After just one full season in 2008, in which the team finished fifth in the manufacturers' championship, Suzuki announced that they would be pulling out of the WRC.[5] The decision was attributed to falling car sales caused by the economic crisis, although reports had surfaced that Suzuki were ready to abandon its WRC program before the economic downturn began.[6]

History[edit]

JWRC (2002-2007)[edit]

In 2002 Suzuki began competing in the FIA Junior World Rally Championship with a Super 1600 version of the Ignis. The following year it won two events with Daniel Carlsson and in 2004 it won the FIA Junior World Rally Championship title with Per-Gunnar Andersson. To gain experience of all the rallies in the series, Suzuki contested all 16-rounds of the WRC in 2005 and introduced a new model, the Swift S1600 in Finland. British driver Guy Wilks finished runner-up in that year’s championship. In 2007 the team had its best ever year in the J-WRC. Andersson won the title for the second time, while Urmo Aava finished second in the standings in an identical Swift S1600.

2007[edit]

Testing of the Suzuki SX4 WRC car was conducted in Japan in February 2007, before relocating to Europe in March.[7] Gravel testing was undertaken in Southern France in April.[8]

The Suzuki SX4 WRC made a competitive debut in Corsica, at the 2007 Tour de Corse, driven by Nicolas Bernardi and co-driver Jean-Marc Fortin, and set several stage times just outside of the top ten.[3][9] The team also participated in 2007 Rally GB with driver Sebastian Lindholm and co-driver Tomi Tuominen.[4]

2008[edit]

Drivers for the 2008 season were announced Monday, December 17th, to be Toni Gardemeister and Per-Gunnar Andersson.[10] Technical Director Michel Nandan has been replaced by Shusuke Inagaki and Akira Kawada has been appointed as team manager.[2]

Suzuki scored on their proper debut with Andersson finishing eighth in the 2008 Monte Carlo Rally, with Suzuki getting two points in the manufacturers' title race. In the 2008 Swedish Rally, Gardemeister finished seventh, earning Suzuki three more manufacturers' points.[11] Both of these early races were marred by engine problems due to faulty head gaskets, with Gardemeister retiring from the Monte Carlo Rally and Andersson retiring from the Swedish Rally, before both cars retired from the Rally of Mexico.[12]

After struggling with reliability issues for several rallies, Suzuki achieved their best result in New Zealand, with Andersson finishing sixth and Gardemeister seventh. At their home event, the 2008 Rally Japan, the team did even better and took fifth and sixth places. During a super special stage in the Sapporo Dome, Gardemeister also gave Suzuki and the SX4 WRC their first stage win. Andersson challenged for a podium in the early stages of Rally GB before going on to finish fifth, while Gardemeister finished seventh ahead of the works Ford of Mikko Hirvonen.

WRC Results[edit]

JWRC[edit]

Year Entrant Car No Driver 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 JWRC Points
2002 Suzuki Sport Suzuki Ignis S1600 59 Finland Juha Kangas MON
9
ESP
11
GRE
Ret
GER
Ret
ITA
14
GBR
Ret
- 0
68 Germany Niki Schelle MON
6
ESP
8
GRE
Ret
GER
3
ITA
7
GBR
Ret
8th 5
75 Japan Kazuhiko Niwa MON
Ret
ESP
Ret
GRE
Ret
GER
9
ITA GBR
Ret
- 0
2003 Suzuki Sport Suzuki Ignis S1600 52 Sweden Daniel Carlsson MON
EX
TUR
Ret
GRE
2
FIN
1
ITA
Ret
ESP
4
GBR
1
3rd 33
64 Finland Ville-Pertti Teuronen MON
Ret
TUR
4
GRE
Ret
FIN
Ret
ITA
4
ESP
6
GBR
3
6th 19
69 Spain Salvador Cañellas MON
Ret
TUR
2
GRE
4
FIN
5
ITA
2
ESP
3
GBR
4
2nd 36
71 Estonia Urmo Aava MON
4
TUR
Ret
GRE
3
FIN
4
ITA
Ret
ESP
5
GBR
Ret
4th 20
2004 Suzuki Sport Suzuki Ignis S1600 31 San Marino Mirco Baldacci MON
6
GRE
Ret
TUR
6
FIN
4
GBR
Ret
ITA
3
ESP
3
5th 23
32 Estonia Urmo Aava MON
2
GRE
Ret
TUR
5
FIN
5
GBR
Ret
ITA
Ret
ESP
Ret
8th 16
33 United Kingdom Guy Wilks MON
Ret
GRE
1
TUR
3
FIN
Ret
GBR
1
ITA
2
ESP
Ret
3rd 34
35 Finland Kosti Katajamäki MON
Ret
GRE
Ret
TUR
2
FIN
2
GBR
3
ITA
4
ESP
5
4th 31
43 Finland Jari-Matti Latvala MON GRE TUR FIN
Ret
GBR
4
ITA
Ret
ESP
9
13th 5
45 Sweden Per-Gunnar Andersson MON
8
GRE
Ret
TUR
1
FIN
1
GBR
Ret
ITA
1
ESP
2
1st 39
2005 Suzuki Sport Europe Suzuki Ignis S1600 31 Sweden Per-Gunnar Andersson MON
6
MEX
2
ITA
5
GRE
1
6th 30
Suzuki Swift S1600 FIN
Ret
GER
4
FRA ESP
Ret
Suzuki Ignis S1600 32 United Kingdom Guy Wilks MON
7
MEX
1
ITA
6
GRE
2
2nd 35
Suzuki Swift S1600 FIN
3
GER
3
FRA ESP
Ret
Suzuki Ignis S1600 33 Finland Kosti Katajamäki MON
2
MEX ITA
Ret
GRE
4
FIN
Ret
GER
5
FRA
3
ESP
2
5th 31
36 Estonia Urmo Aava MON
Ret
MEX ITA
2
GRE
3
FIN
2
GER
Ret
FRA
4
ESP
4
4th 32
2006 Suzuki Sport Europe Suzuki Swift S1600 33 Estonia Urmo Aava SWE
3
ESP FRA
2
ARG ITA
3
GER FIN
DSQ
TUR
1
GBR
9
2nd 31
35 Sweden Per-Gunnar Andersson SWE
1
ESP FRA ARG
3
ITA
4
GER FIN
2
TUR
DSQ
GBR
Ret
3rd 29
37 Czech Republic Pavel Valoušek SWE
4
ESP FRA
Ret
ARG ITA
14
GER
3
FIN
12
TUR
13
GBR 15th 11
43 Estonia Jaan Mölder SWE ESP FRA ARG ITA GER FIN TUR GBR
1
9th 18
48 United Kingdom Guy Wilks SWE
9
ESP FRA ARG
1
ITA
8
GER FIN
1
TUR
4
GBR
11
4th 26
2007 Suzuki Sport Europe Suzuki Swift S1600 33 Estonia Urmo Aava NOR
3
POR
2
ITA
1
FIN GER
2
ESP
3
FRA
Ret
2nd 38
36 Estonia Jaan Mölder NOR
4
POR
4
ITA
5
FIN
13
GER
6
ESP
6
FRA 5th 20
42 Estonia Aigar Pärs NOR
12
POR
14
ITA
Ret
FIN
Ret
GER
8
ESP FRA
Ret
21st 1
43 Latvia Vilius Rožukas NOR
11
POR
8
ITA
9
FIN
6
GER ESP FRA 12th 4
45 Sweden Per-Gunnar Andersson NOR
1
POR
1
ITA
2
FIN GER ESP
1
FRA
4
1st 43
United Kingdom James Wozencroft NOR POR ITA FIN GER
13
ESP FRA - 0
2008 Suzuki Sport Europe Suzuki Swift S1600 32 Estonia Jaan Mölder MEX
2
JOR
Ret
ITA
9
FIN
Ret
GER ESP
6
FRA
11
8th 11
35 Poland Michał Kościuszko MEX
3
JOR
Ret
ITA
1
FIN
3
GER ESP
9
FRA
Ret
5th 22
43 Germany Florian Niegel MEX JOR
4
ITA
Ret
FIN GER
8
ESP
10
FRA
7
11th 8
60 France Pierre Marche MEX JOR ITA FIN GER ESP FRA
4
15th 5
2009 Suzuki Sport Europe Suzuki Swift S1600 31 Germany Aaron Burkart IRE
1
CYP
3
POR ARG
2
ITA
3
POL FIN
4
ESP
5
3rd 39
32 Poland Michał Kościuszko IRE CYP
2
POR
1
ARG
1
ITA
2
POL
Ret
FIN
3
ESP 2nd 42
33 Italy Simone Bertolotti IRE
3
CYP POR
6
ARG ITA
7
POL
5
FIN
6
ESP
2
6th 26
2010 Suzuki Sport Europe Suzuki Swift S1600 21 Germany Aaron Burkart TUR
1
POR
3
BUL GER
2
FRA
5
ESP
4
1st 80
World Rally Team Estonia 30 Estonia Karl Kruuda TUR
6
POR
2
BUL
5
GER
3
FRA ESP 4th 51

WRC[edit]

Year Car No Driver 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 WDC Points TC Points
2007 Suzuki SX4 WRC 19 France Nicolas Bernardi MON SWE NOR MEX POR ARG ITA GRE FIN GER NZL ESP FRA
31
JPN IRE - 0 - 0
Finland Sebastian Lindholm GBR
27
- 0
2008 Suzuki SX4 WRC 11 Finland Toni Gardemeister MON
Ret
SWE
7
MEX
Ret
ARG
Ret
JOR
Ret
ITA
Ret
GRE
9
TUR
Ret
FIN
8
GER
10
NZL
7
ESP
13
FRA
13
JPN
6
GBR
7
13th 10 5th 34
12 Sweden Per-Gunnar Andersson MON
8
SWE
Ret
MEX
Ret
ARG
24
JOR
Ret
ITA
9
GRE
11
TUR
Ret
FIN
Ret
GER
15
NZL
6
ESP
32
FRA
17
JPN
5
GBR
5
12th 12

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]