02 May 08
The development of Subaru’s new Impreza World Rally Car reached a crucial point this week when Petter Solberg and Chris Atkinson drove it for the first time.
Solberg flew to Sardinia for the secret test straight after Rally Jordan and took the wheel of the new hatch-back Impreza on Wednesday 30 April and Thursday 1 May. Atkinson flew in on Thursday for two days of testing on Friday and Saturday.
Up to now the majority of the test and development driving has been carried out by Markko Martin, who was drafted in at the beginning of the year for this specific purpose.
Beyond confirming that the event took place, Solberg, Atkinson and the management team at Subaru remained light-lipped about how the test had gone and when the new car might make it’s eagerly anticipated WRC debut.
“Yes, Petter and Chris are driving the car for the first time this week,” the team’s managing director Richard Taylor acknowledged on Friday. “But the test is still ongoing and we don’t have anything else to say at the moment. Getting Petter and Chris in the car at the soonest opportunity was always been part of the development plan. But we haven’t yet made a decision about when the car will make its first WRC appearance.”