One-Two For The Ignis In Round Four Of The JWRC
Suzuki driver P-G Andersson has claimed his second Junior World Rally Championship victory in succession, leading home a Suzuki Ignis Super 1600 first!
The young Swede won an exciting battle for the lead against his colleague Kosti Katajamaki, while another Ignis of Mirco Baldacci was robbed of a podium place after a puncture on the last stage.
Baldacci ended up fourth, ahead of the 2003-specification Ignis of Urmo Aava [fifth], making it another highly successful event for Suzuki! Andersson now lies only three points behind championship leader Nicolas Bernardi.
The Rally Finland, round four of the Junior World Rally Championship, was characterised by very fast gravel roads, massive crests and dry and warm conditions throughout all three days making it the most spectacular rally of the year.
In addition to the JWRC runners, the 2004-specification Suzuki Ignis Super 1600 cars of Jukka Ketomaki and Jussi Valimaki finished 5th and 8th respectively in the A6 category after a fast and reliable run.
Unfortunately, the Ignis Super 1600s of Guy Wilks and Jari-Matti Latvala were forced to retire on the opening day after going off the road.
The Suzuki Ignis Teams in action
Suzuki Ignis number 45 - Per-Gunnar Andersson (S)/Jonas Andersson (S)
First and two fastest stage times
Andersson, the Rally of Turkey winner was locked in battle with his team-mate until the very final stage. He grabbed the lead on the opening day, but lost it with a puncture on the second. Luckily for him it occurred right at the end of the stage so he only lost 17 seconds and was able to regain the lead soon after. Driving carefully on the opening stage of the final day he lost it again but a burst of speed brought him home victorious.
He said: "Finland is a rally every driver loves. It has certainly been an interesting event, but the main thing is that our car has been reliable with no real problems throughout. Now we can look forward to an excellent battle for the championship..."
Suzuki Ignis number 35 - Kosti Katajamaki (FIN)/Timo Alanne (FIN) Second and one fastest stage time
Katajamaki, competing on home territory, was locked into a stimulating battle for the lead with team mate Andersson over all four final stages. The pair fought tooth and nail to the finish but – as in Turkey – Katajamaki finally had to concede victory.
Suzuki Ignis number 31 - Mirco Baldacci (RSM)/Giovanni Bernacchini (I) Fourth
Baldacci enjoyed all three final stages, before hitting problems on the last one. His Suzuki Ignis was entirely reliable throughout but a puncture five kilometres from the end of the final stage dropped him from third to fourth.
Suzuki's team manager Risto Laine commented: "The Rally Finland was really the first event where we could see the pure speed of the Ignis compared to others. Under the most demanding circumstances the performance of the cars has been faultless and it's very pleasing to achieve the top two places!"Published 10 August 2004