The Wales Rally Great Britain is round 12 of the World Rally Championship, and although it is not part of the Junior World Rally Championship, Suzuki will again enter two new Swifts for Guy Wilks and P-G Andersson in class A6 as part of their learning programme this year.
However Britain is very familiar territory for Suzuki. The Swift rally cars undergo their final preparations before each event at a workshop in Milton Keynes and the team has an excellent track record on Wales Rally GB, having won its class for the past two years. Wales Rally Great Britain is one of the fastest and most challenging events of the entire year, and a move to September has made the notoriously tricky weather conditions even more variable. The event is characterised by frequent surface changes, and the constantly altering levels of grip make the Welsh gravel stages spectacular to watch and drive.
As well as the two Swifts, two Ignis Super 1600s will be seen on the event. One car will be driven by Leon Pesticcio, who has driven for Suzuki on the British Rally Championship in the past. The second car will be driven by Czech Junior World Rally Championship regular Martin Prokop.
Britain is also a round of the Production Car World Rally Championship, for two-litre four-wheel drive cars with turbos. Despite a power and traction deficit, the Suzuki drivers will once again be trying to beat the Production runners. In the past, they have often succeeded, and with no Junior World Rally Championship points to think about, the Suzuki drivers have promised to go flat-out to show what their cars can do!
Englishman Guy Wilks is currently in the lead of the Junior World Rally Championship, and he is looking forward to driving the all-new Swift for the first time on home territory. He said: "For me, it's going to be all about enjoying myself and showing everybody what our Swift can do. Apart from the other Suzukis, there's not so much opposition in our class, so we're going to be chasing bigger cars. I know the event quite well now - it's my fourth time and I won JWRC here last year with the Ignis - so I think that if conditions are dry we can spring a really impressive surprise. I think the Swift will be quite well suited to the stages, which are fast and flowing. I've also got a cool new helmet design for this rally - so look out for that!"
Suzuki Sports President Nobuhiro 'Monster' Tajima said: "It is still only the third event for our new Swift in total, and the first time it appears in competition outside of the Junior World Rally Championship. This is a very exciting opportunity for us to see how the car compares against much more powerful opposition! I hope that we can make a good impression, and I have every confidence in the drivers and team to do so. Although Suzuki is a Japanese company, we have very strong links with Britain and it is important for us to do well there."
The Wales Rally Great Britain gets underway with a ceremonial start on the evening of Thursday 15 September in Cardiff. Drivers then tackle 17 special stages before the finish back in Cardiff on Sunday 18 September.
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