03 Aug 08
Finland turned out to be a rally of mixed fortunes for the Subaru World Rally team, with the high of another podium for Chris Atkinson balanced by the frustration of Petter Solberg who was unhappy to have finished sixth.
After losing time with a damaged suspension component and dropping to ninth on Friday, Atkinson and co-driver Stephane Prevot mounted a strong fight-back to secure third today - their fifth podium of the 2008 season. The result marks the first points-score for the duo in the new Impreza WRC2008, and moves them back up into third position in the drivers’ championship.
“To finish on the podium in Finland is fantastic, it’s one of those rallies that you really, really want to do well on and it’s great to add it to the CV” said Atkinson. “The guys did a fantastic job, the car was great and I was just able to keep pushing hard. I really want to thank everybody in the team, it’s just really cool to be here on the podium the first time in Finland with the new car, and of course it’s great to be back in third in the championship.”
But while Atkinson was celebrating, Petter Solberg said he was unhappy that a good feeling in the car had eluded him for most of the weekend.
“When everything was working it felt very good, but it’s been a tough weekend with a lot of problems,” said Solberg. “We’re sixth and that’s just how it is. What else can I do? Everybody at the team is working flat out but we have to just improve from here; we have to get the details right. David Richards is on the case, but at the moment it’s not good enough. I really hope we can be on the case in Germany.”
After the two rough rallies in Greece and Turkey, Subaru World Rally Team technical director David Lapworth said Finland was the first event where the focus was on gravel performance. “It’s been our first chance to really see how the car performs on gravel and how the work done in testing translates to a rally, and it is clear we’ve made good progress,” said Lapworth. “Chris did a great job and we learned a lot that we will take into New Zealand as we continue the steep part of the learning curve we are currently in.”