Suzuki Motor Corporation has announced its Junior World Rally Championship motor sport plans for 2003. Four of the exciting Suzuki Ignis Super 1600 cars will compete in the seven rounds of the junior world series next year.

The cars will be run by four privateer teams, but will receive technical support from a newly-created company, Suzuki Works Techno (SWT). This company has been created to reinforce Suzuki's links with motor sport and enhance the brand image of Suzuki's road cars. In JWRC Suzuki Works Techno will work with Suzuki Sport continuing the development of the Ignis Super 1600.

The four teams, drivers, and co-drivers are as follows:

Team Driver Co-Driver Nationality
Team SWT UK Ville-Pertti Teuronen Harri Kaapro Finnish
Team SWT Japan Daniel Carlsson Mattias Anderson Swedish
Team SWT France Urmo Aava Kuldar Sikk Estonian
Team SWT Italy Salvador Canellas Xavier Amigo Spanish

Ville-Pertti Teuronen is just embarking on his rally career but appears to have everything it takes to join the next generation of 'flying Finns'. The 25-year-old lives in Espoo, not far from reigning World Rally Champion Marcus Gronholm. It will be his first year of World Championship competition, but he will be helped by the experience of Harri Kaapro in the co-drivers' seat. Daniel Carlsson is 26 years old, and has marked himself out as one of the rising stars of Swedish motor sport. In 2001 he tasted World Championship competition in a Toyota Corolla WRC, finishing seventh on the Rally Sweden and retiring from 11th overall on the Rally of Portugal with mechanical problems. He moved to the Junior World Championship in 2002, finishing fourth on his first visit to Monte Carlo, and retiring from sixth position in Catalunya with mechanical problems. He is co-driven by Mattias Anderson.

Urmo Aava is also part of the new face of world rallying. He comes from Estonia and already has some World Championship experience, having driven a Ford Focus WRC on the flat-out Rally Finland last year. The 23 year old's co-driver for 2003 year will be fellow Estonian Kuldar Sikk.

Spain's Salvador Canellas has already mixed it with the top flight of the World Championship, having recently competed on selected world events in a SEAT Cordoba WRC. He also has a number of overall rally wins to his credit, including the European Championship's Corte Ingles Rally and the La Coruna Rally. Canellas is an asphalt specialist, but has also won many gravel events in France and Spain. It is his first year in the Junior World Championship, and he will be navigated by his regular partner Xavier Amigo.

The seven Junior World Championship rounds are as follows:

1 Monte Carlo Rally January 22-26
2 Rally of Turkey February 28-March 2
3 Acropolis Rally June 4-8
4 Rally Finland August 6-10
5 Sanremo Rally October 1-5
6 Catalunya Rally October 22-26
7 Rally Great Britain November 5-9

Suzuki made a promising debut in the 2002 Junior World Championship which included a podium finish and a fastest stage time. Suzuki's German driver Niki Schelle was responsible for both of these good results.

Published : 20/12/02 Author : Melanie Carter

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