Suzuki has embarked on its first gravel rally with the all-new SX4 WRC, after Finns Sebastian Lindholm and Tomi Tuominen took the ceremonial start for the Rally Great Britain this evening in Cardiff.

During the morning, the SX4 WRC had its first taste of gravel action at the shakedown test near Swansea: a last-minute opportunity to finalise settings and refine the car before the competitive stages start tomorrow. Nonetheless Suzuki is still in the testing and development phase with the all-new SX4 WRC, which will only embark on its first full season in 2008.

The first of 17 all gravel special stages gets underway at 09:53 tomorrow, with the final service taking place at 17:36 tomorrow evening at the service park in Swansea.

Car news - Suzuki SX4 WRC
The Suzuki SX4 WRC completed several runs through the shakedown stage this morning, but was forced to stop when the engine overheated. The car was recovered to service and re-prepared for the start. A number of different solutions are making their appearance on the car for the first time, with a new valve operating system, engine mapping, anti-lag system and differential settings.

Driver news:
Suzuki World Rally Team test driver Sebastian Lindholm co-driven by his fellow Finn Tomi Tuominen was satisfied with the SX4 WRC's performance during the shakedown. The 46 year-old commented: "The car feels strong in every area, and there is clearly a lot of potential for the future. My mission on this rally is to learn more and accumulate as many kilometres of testing as possible. I feel confident, but this weekend will be very difficult for everyone as the weather conditions are expected to be very bad. Still, this is typical of Rally GB and it helps our testing programme!"

Team news:
The newly-formed Suzuki World Rally team learned a lot about working together in gravel conditions on only the squad's second-ever rally. Nobuhiro Tajima, team principal of the Suzuki World Rally Team, commented: "This is only our first gravel rally, so it is important that Sebastian uses his noted experience on this surface in order to assess our form compared to the opposition. To make sure we do this, the priority is to finish the rally. Rally Great Britain is one of the most difficult events of the year, so it is sure to be a very big challenge for everyone in the team. After having made our first steps on asphalt in Corsica, understanding more about gravel is our next target this weekend!"

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