Gardemeister warms up for Lancer drive

Toni Gardemeister, drafted in to Mitsubishi's Rally Finland attack, finished second on his first shakedown outing in a works Lancer last weekend

Gardemeister warms up for Lancer drive

The Finn, who found himself out of a regular WRC drive following SEAT's pull-out at the end of the 2000 season, contested Finland's Mantta Rally - a traditional curtain-raiser to the country's WRC round in late August - but had to give best to the Ford Focus of Jani Paasonen.

Gardemeister damaged his car on a jump early in the event and Mitsubishi Ralliart team boss Andrew Cowan said he was pleased with his performance, despite the handicap.

"We finished our testing on Friday and the test car went along just to do the rally," he told Autosport's sister magazine Motorsport News. "It was very important he finished the rally. It was a very good exercise."

Although Mitsubishi has run just two cars for the bulk of the season, local expert Gardemeister has been drafted in alongside joint WRC points-leader and fellow countryman Tommi Makinen and Freddy Loix on one of the most specialised events on the WRC calendar.

The team hopes that by nominating four-time event-winner Makinen and Gardemeister for makes' championship points, it will strengthen its title ambitions while giving Belgian Loix experience of the event without the pressure.

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