The development of the SX4 WRC is well under way. During the last few months the team conducted extensive tests on both tarmac and gravel. Now it is ready for its official debut at Rallye de France in Corsica on 12 October, where it will complete its first run under real contest conditions. The very last test will follow at Wales Rally GB (30 Nov — 2 Dec), before Suzuki enters its first full WRC season in January 2008.
At the same time, Suzuki is gearing up for the new FIA regulation effective as of 2012. In 2008, Suzuki will exploit its efforts that were achieved by now and will prepare for the next WRC era.
The Suzuki Sport president is quite optimistic about the premiere results: “Our tests in Europe went better than expected. The machine, which has been continuously improved, is well evaluated by the test drivers and shows good performance. As we carried out our tests in France with a good outcome, fairly good results can be expected for Rallye de France, too.” For 2008, Tajima’s ambition is not less than a podium position: “I believe that victory is very important in the world of sports. So we aim not only at finishing the rally, but also at finishing in the top three position.”
Suzuki’s participation in the WRC is one of the most important marketing and sales initiatives for the corporation’s automobile division in recent years. It will boost the image and brand identity of Suzuki as a major manufacturer of cars that are technically excellent, sporty and fun, and will also provide technical feedback which will assist in the development of new models for launch in the future as a part of Suzuki’s global new product development programme.
Suzuki’s decision to participate in the WRC – the world’s most demanding motor sport competition and one of the top two motor sport championships alongside Formula 1 – follows its very successful involvement in the Junior Rally Championship (JRC) since 2002. Suzuki Ignis Super 1600 placed first in 2004, their 3rd year of participation in the JRC. In 2006, the two works teams started on Suzuki Swift Super 1600, winning the 1st place at Rally Norway in February and finishing the year on rank two and three. Results of this year are already very promising.