26 May 08
Subaru World Rally Team Principal David Richards says the competitive debut of the Impreza WRC2008 will mark the beginning of a new era for the UK-based team.
The brand new hatch-back Impreza will make its eagerly anticipated debut on the forthcoming Acropolis Rally of Greece, replacing the troubled WRC2007 model which has been unable to match the performance of the latest Ford and Citroen machinery.
The Subaru team’s last win on the WRC stages came on Rally Mexico in 2005, but Richards says the new model is already faster than its predecessor and can change the team’s fortunes around.
“Acropolis will see a very different Subaru World Rally Team as we return to full strength upon the debut of our new car,” said Richards. “Whilst a very different look and direction for us, the WRC2008 is instantly recognisable as a Subaru and I am sure will continue the marque’s iconic heritage. I am confident of a very positive step forward in our pace in Greece, despite it being the toughest event of the year.”
Richards added that the car’s debut “heralds a new chapter in the team’s illustrious history.”
Ahead of the car’s official launch on Wednesday 28 May, the team’s operations director, Paul Howarth, said the Greek event would be the ideal proving ground for the new vehicle.
“We’ve done a considerable amount of endurance mileage with the new car which should stand us in good stead, said Howarth. “The rally is bound to throw up new challenges to those we’ve faced in testing, however, and it’s an event likely to throw up surprises, but it’s a good tough weekend to quickly highlight areas in which we can fine-tune and continue to improve.”