Happy Birthday, Toni Gardemeister!

This birthday wish may be horribly late, but it’s here, isn’t it? Here we go then–why is Garde so great?

Because he’s a very talented driver. He had very solid results in 2005 in his factory drive with Ford. Without a works team in 2006, he still drove like hell and scored a podium and three other top 5 finishes. All in a four-year-old Xsara with a shoestring budget.

Because he’s Finnish. Complete with the accent and the ability to swear in very long beeps.

Because he’s got a great name. Anyone remember Meisterburger Burgermeister from the Rankin-Bass movie “Santa Clause is Coming to Town”? Yeah. Like that: Meistergarde Gardemeister.

Because it’s funny how he sticks his tongue out when he’s really concentrating.

Because even his privateer car has great livery on it. I like the Koti Idea spots.

Except for the early 2006 car, which looked like it had hit a family of alphabets and they were still clinging to his hood.

And because he hasn’t given up. He placed fourth in the championship in 2005, then was dropped by Ford in favor of Mikko Hirvonen. But he’s been trying extremely hard to gather sponsors and to do events. He hasn’t disappointed. He finishes consistently and displays truckloads of passion for the sport. He thoroughly deserves a stable drive, but this difficult period has also helped him. It has reinvigorated him to drive with more purpose and determination to prove his talent. I really do hope it pays off.

Toni’s lookin’ good.    Poor family of alphabets.    Toni going bumperless

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April 12, 2007. Appreciation, Citroen, Ford, Rally, Rallying, WRC.

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