29 Dec 07
The new Subaru Impreza WRC 2008, one of the sport’s most eagerly awaited World Rally Cars, began testing in Britain at the end of last month.
The car, which will be driven by SWRT’s Petter Solberg and Chris Atkinson, completed its initial shakedown mileage at the MIRA proving ground in Warwickshire. The first major asphalt and gravel testing is expected to begin any day now, with both Solberg and Atkinson getting behind the wheel of the all-new car.
The date for the arrival of the Impreza WRC 2008 has yet to be agreed, but the team is almost certain it won’t be for Rally Jordan, which was a date rumoured late last year.The team’s managing director Richard Taylor said: “We’re delighted to see the car running, and the early results were very positive. It’s far too early to say when we will use the car competitively for the first time, though. We need to get a lot more running time under our belts before we make that kind of decision. At the same time, we still have to retain a focus on the start of the year with the current car.”
Taylor added that the arrival of the new Impreza WRC 2008 had already raised the team’s expectations for the season ahead. He added: “Times have been tough around here, there’s no denying that, but through all of that, the team in Banbury has been incredible. Morale is great within the team and we’re all looking forward to getting the New Year under way.”
Xevi Pons, the third driver in the team for the last eight rallies of 2007, will not return to SWRT this season.