15 Aug 08
Subaru World Rally team drivers Petter Solberg and Chris Atkinson are anxious to unlock more performance from the Impreza WRC2008s on the second day of Rally Germany.
The drivers lie sixth and seventh respectively at the end of the first day of the rally - which is the debut asphalt event for the new car.
Subaru was the only manufacturer to opt for hard compound tyres on the morning loop of stages and both drivers reported a lack of grip on the opening tests. Atkinson brought his car back to the mid-point service in fifth overall, with Solberg behind in sixth, but both were overtaken in the afternoon by Jari-Matti Latvala.
Solberg moved ahead of his team-mate on SS4, but despite making set-up changes he ended the day feeling uncomfortable with the stability of his car. “It’s not been a bad day but the afternoon was very similar to the morning,” said Solberg. “The changes we made helped in the cuts, but they didn’t improve grip. I also had some problems under braking - the rear wheels are locking up - so the changes we made weren’t such a good step.”
Atkinson said his car had felt good for much of the day but he was confused by his stage times. “I really have no answer to why I’m struggling,” said Atkinson. “I don’t know where the time has gone - we were as quick as the leaders here last year. Okay, we’re still lacking a little confidence in these conditions, but then we haven’t done much testing. Tomorrow will be difficult and we’re a little way down the order, but we’ll keep working hard and improving as much as we can.”
“Today was an encouraging start to our asphalt debut considering we haven’t done much testing on this surface with the new car” said David Richards, Subaru World Rally Team principal. “The drivers are getting used to the car in these conditions and both reported a good balance although we can already identify where there is more speed to come. We had hard tyres in the morning and soft in the afternoon, which was perhaps a mistake, but otherwise it’s been a successful first day for the car on asphalt.”