The all-new Suzuki Swift of Guy Wilks has finished on the podium of Rally Deutschland. His team mate P-G Andersson is fourth, ahead of Kosti Katajamaki who is fifth in an Ignis. The final points-scoring place was occupied by Ignis driver Pavel Valousek in eighth.
The final leg
of the all-asphalt event consisted of two loops of three stages, with a service halt in between at Bostalsee. The roads were wider and more flowing than the two previous days and the weather remained dry and warm.
Guy started the day third, some distance behind the Citroen C2s of Daniel Sordo and Kris Meeke, after being forced to stop and change a puncture during leg two. He also had several spins due to a brake balance problem. Nonetheless, the Englishman was pleased with his performance on the Swift's asphalt debut. On the final day, he concentrated on maintaining his position safely to the finish.
Guy said: "When you consider how much further developed the Citroen C2 is compared to our new car, I think our performance is extremely encouraging. If you take away the time we lost yesterday it would have been a much closer fight. I quite liked the roads today, but there was no point in pushing too hard as there was no way I was going to catch the two guys in front of me. But I also had P-G quite close behind me so I could not afford to relax."
P-G Andersson started the day just 20 seconds behind Guy in fourth. The Swede was determined to push hard to try to grab the final podium place from his team mate.
P-G, the reigning Junior World Champion, said: "My objective today was to try and take third place from Guy. I felt quite confident that I had the speed, but I didn't know how much he had in reserve, because there was a big gap between him and the cars in front. In the end though the gap was too big so I was happy just take the points for fourth. I've not really had a very good feeling with this event and I've made a few mistakes so fourth is a fair result."
Kosti Katajamaki, driving an Ignis run by Suzuki Sport Europe, brought his car home safely in fifth after having a remarkably trouble-free event. The Finn enjoyed perfect reliability and drove faultlessly throughout all three days of the rally. With a big gap in front and behind him, he was able to make steady progress to the finish.
Kosti, backed by two-time World Champion Marcus Gronholm
, said: "It was a good rally for me, but I am slightly disappointed that we did not have much of a battle on our hands. The gaps seemed quite spread out for most of the rally, so there was comparatively little that I could do. On the positive side the car was extremely reliable and I feel well prepared for the asphalt rounds now."
Pavel Valousek started the day eighth after battling gearbox and driveshaft problems on day two. The final leg was much better for him and he ended up taking the final drivers point.
The Czech said: "It's not been an easy rally, but it's been worthwhile in the end. I've learnt a lot and come away with a point, which is more than I thought I would."
Ignis driver Urmo Aava retired on the first day as the result of a roll, while the similar car of Martin Prokop went out on leg two following a broken rear axle.
Suzuki Sport president Nobuhiro 'Monster' Tajima said: "This is a good result for us. I am not at all worried by the gap to the Citroens in front, because without Guy's problems he would have been much closer. To be near their pace when the car is so new is an excellent achievement. Of course we still have plenty of things that we can do to the car, but there is so much potential there to build on."
The next round of the Junior World Rally Championship is the Tour of Corsica from October 21-23, but the Suzuki Swifts of Guy and P-G will be back in action in just over two week's time on the Rally Great Britain from September 16-18.
Press release Suzuki Motorsport