20 Jan 08
No mousse in tyres will become a key characteristic of this year's championship. At the moment the Impreza is the only WRC car with only four wheels studs rather than five. Do you think that will provide any time advantage with changing damaged wheels and punctures?
Richard Taylor: Well, I don't think you should ask me technical questions - that sounds more like one for drivers. The time factor is something to do with the time spent with the car on the jack rather than how long it takes to get the wheel studs off. Maybe you should ask the co-drivers, because if it's not driving then the drivers don't really do it!
Do you still have plans for a third driver this year? Is there any chance we might see Xevi Pons back?
Richard Taylor: We're talking to several people this year. I don't think we'll see it in the first part of the year. The focus is on developing the new car and putting all our resource into that.
Last year was challenging for you. What changes have been made for this year and what is a realistic goal for this season?
Petter Solberg: It's been a little bit of a hard time for the team. The change we have done with the car is small details. We need to improve big things to fight at the top, but we are all realistic. We have to do the best we can to win as many points in the first half of the season and then come back strong at the second half. We will try very hard and the spectators will all enjoy that - or that's what we're going to try to do.
How exciting is the development work and prospects of the new car to you? How is testing with Markko - does he have the same ideas for set-up as you?
Petter Solberg: It's a lot of things going on with the car and with the testing in the background with Markko Martin. We have to focus on the rallies and try to do the best thing for Subaru. The plan or strategy which they [Subaru World Rally Team] have done with Markko Martin is under control. Let them [the test team] do their job and we'll do ours - and then we'll meet up when the car's ready for testing.
Australia's always been a passionate rallying nation. Are your efforts in the WRC encouraging talent in Australia and is there anyone you think we may be seeing come up the ranks?
Chris Atkinson: I think I inspired a few people to crash, that's what came over when I saw my crash ratio on the television! But that's all part of it. This is an action sport and crashing is part of that. A lot of people in Australia are very supportive of me and the sport. People in Australia like to see action and crashing is part of that action.
How have you prepared for the 2008 season? Did you go home and spend your time on a surfboard?
Chris Atkinson: The surf was really good this year, there were some five-metre swells, but unfortunately it was a cyclone. I would like to have been out there, but I had to think of this first race and having my arms and legs with me was always going to be good.