Rally Tour de Corse : Suzuki Motorsport - Finish
Suzuki Ignis driver Kosti Katajamaki has finished third on the Rally de France-Tour de Corse, round seven of the Junior World Rally Championship, just ahead of his Suzuki Sport Europe team mate Urmo Aava. Martin Prokop is
seventh in his Ignis run by Jipocar. The all-new Suzuki Swifts were not competing in Corsica, as championship regulations require every crew to nominate one round on which they will not score points.
The final leg of the all-asphalt event once again consisted of four stages, split into two loops of two. The mountain roads were narrow, twisty and bumpy while temperatures were in the region of 25 degrees centigrade.
Kosti started the final leg with the firm aim of staying out of trouble and finishing on the podium of his first Corsica Rally. The Finn was able to adapt his driving style to the asphalt roads in preparation for the next round in Spain, and he had no mechanical problems throughout the final day.
Kosti, backed by two-time World Champion Marcus Gronholm
, commented: "It's been a very difficult rally where the levels of grip have changed all the time. I always knew it was going to be tough, but I am quite surprised by just how tricky it was. I had the Citroen of Daniel Sordo behind me today, but I knew there was no point in trying to fight him so I just let him go."
Estonian Urmo Aava was relieved to finish fourth after an adventurous rally characterised by punctures and a driveshaft problem. These cost him a lot of time, but he finally had a clean run through the stages on the final day in order to salvage a solid points finish.
Urmo reported: "After everything that has happened, fourth place is something of a miracle. I've finally got in some good practice on asphalt, but it has been a bit of a struggle. I hope I do not have as many problems in Spain, but it's all useful experience! The roads were very slippery – I am not surprised that so many people had problems and towards the end of the long stages I was running out of brakes as well."
Czech youngster Martin Prokop, driving in Corsica for the first time, ends the rally in seventh place. He had a trouble-free run through the stages today, apart from one or two small brake problems. His aim was to gain experience, and he will now approach the Catalunya Rally with more confidence.
Martin said: "We've learnt a lot, which was the name of the game here. My asphalt experience has increased by about 100% and we've not put a mark on the car, so I'm happy."
Pavel Valousek, driving an Ignis run by JM Engineering, was forced to retire after SS10 with a broken alternator, but he still notched up plenty of asphalt preparation for Catalunya.
Pavel reported: "We had already had some problems so I do not think we would have got a top result anyway. It was more important to get in some practice on sealed surfaces. Sometimes I was able to set some fast times – which was encouraging. It's all about finding consistency."
Suzuki Sport president Nobuhiro 'Monster' Tajima said: "Third and fourth places is a good result here. All our drivers were sensible enough to respect this rally and avoid trouble, so the strength and reliability of the Ignis helped them to a good points finish. The result shows that the Ignis Super 1600 is still very competitive."
The Suzuki Ignis drivers will be back in action for the final round of the Junior World Rally Championship, the all-asphalt Catalunya Rally, in four days time from October 27-30. Joining them will be the Suzuki Swift team of Andersson and Wilks for a thrilling championship finale.
Press release Suzuki Motorsport