11 Jan 08
The Subaru World Rally team has stopped developing the Impreza WRC2007 and will make a low-key start to the 2008 season in order to focus resources on its new car, the WRC2008.
Petter Solberg and Chris Atkinson will start the new season using the Impreza WRC2007 and the team’s managing director, Richard Taylor, is down-playing his team’s chances of success with the existing machinery.
“We accept that we’re not going to develop the WRC2007 much further and that we won’t be anywhere near as competitive as we hope to be with the new car,” said Taylor. “We homologated a couple of bits for the beginning of the year but that’s about it. Basically, we’re really freezing the WRC2007 now at that, and just carrying on putting all the effort into its successor. In the early part of the season our main objective is to get the new car out as quickly as we can - subject to the performance and durability being right.”
Taylor also gave details of management changes in the team, designed to speed the introduction of the WRC2008. “David [Richards] is going to add to what he was doing last year. He will be going to all the events as team principal while I will certainly not be at the first few events as I’ll be focused on getting the new car ready. We’re also shrinking the on-event team to maximise the resource for the new car.”
Despite a low profile start to the year, and no firm date for the introduction of the new car, Taylor remains optimistic that Subaru will turn its recent disappointing form around in 2008. “At this stage we can’t say when the car will make its debut, but it definitely won’t be in time for Jordan. Our aim is that the new car is competitive at the outset. We want to win at least a couple of rallies with it before the end of the year,” he said.