06 Feb 08
The Subaru World Rally Team has entered two Impreza WRC2007s for Rally Sweden. Petter Solberg / Phil Mills will drive car number five and Chris Atkinson / Stephane Prevot will be in car number six.
Petter has only missed one Rally Sweden since his WRC debut (on this rally) in 1998 but this will only be Chris's fourth attempt, and his first alongside Stephane.
Outlining his expectations for the rally Subaru team principal David Richards said: "Despite being held on roads covered with snow and sheet ice, Sweden is one of the fastest events of the year and most certainly favours those drivers with experience of these conditions. Petter was brought up on these roads but for Chris it must be an extraordinary contrast from the Australian outback and yet I expect him to do extremely well and have every confidence that both our drivers will be well in the points again this weekend."
Paul Howarth, the team's operations director is hoping that the weather remains wintry for the event: "We've seen the situation before that certain stages have had little snow until just before the start of the event, but what it needs is a real cold snap to give the routes a hard base of ice, else the stages will just get torn up."
If the snow cover remains, Howarth does not think the rally will cause too many mechanical problems, although for drivers it's likely to be tough: "It's generally an easy rally on the cars, but it's physically demanding for the drivers as they need an aggressive approach on this type of surface," he said. "It's very, very fast and everyone will be fighting to take an early advantage. The snow banks are important as drivers use them through every corner and they also cover huge ditches at the sides of the road. Without the banks to guide the cars away from the ditches, costly mistakes will be easier to make."