18 Feb 08
Subaru’s technical director David Lapworth says the team made ‘some good steps’ at its recent four-day test in Spain but wouldn’t make any predictions about what was possible on the forthcoming rally in Mexico.
Before the test, Subaru’s team principal David Richards said he believed the Impreza WRC2007 could win its next two rallies if the test went according to plan.
But Lapworth was more cautious when asked whether he thought the team would be ready to challenge for victory: “My expectations for Mexico are no different now than they were before the test,” he said. “The WRC2007 is not a bad car and I think it can go quite well there. At the test we tried a couple of developments and they do look good, but most of our efforts are concentrated on the replacement WRC2008 - that’s the car we think can get us ahead of the Ford and the Citroen.”
Lapworth said work on the test wasn’t exclusively damper related - as had been suggested in press reports beforehand. “A couple of issues came up in Sweden, one of which was related to the dampers and we believe we’ve addressed that. We also tried one or two other more general things which were suggested by our research and development team.”
Subaru’s lead driver Petter Solberg agreed that improvements had been made, but said he would have to wait until Mexico to see the full picture. “It all depends on what the team decide to implement before the rally,” said Solberg. “The key is to get consistent grip on the stages. We tried some new stuff, and it seemed to work okay, but how many of the changes will be on the car in Mexico I can’t say.”
Asked whether he felt he could win the event Solberg replied: “I have set myself a personal goal for the rally, I have told it to my engineer and that’s it. I’m not saying anything else to anyone!”