21 Jul 08
Starts this year: 16
Rally wins: 0
Best result: 2nd (Mexico, Argentina, Greece)
Manufacturers' Championship points: 53
Looking only at the performance of your own team and drivers, what has been your highlight of this season so far?
Without a doubt the Acropolis Rally. We managed to bring forward the launch of the new Impreza WRC2008 to Greece and the car successfully completed one of the most demanding rallies of the year straight out of the box. Chris won a stage, and Petter finished second overall; it was quite an achievement for a brand new car we'd only been testing for a few months.
What has been the most valuable lesson your team has learned so far this year?
The early part of this year saw us competing with the old car while simultaneously developing the new one, which was an enormous challenge, both on time and resources. I'm sure time will tell that the decision to launch the new car ahead of schedule in Greece was probably the most important. It was a risky decision and one that put the team under great pressure, but the experience gained from the two rallies we have now completed is incredibly valuable and puts us in a far stronger position for the rest of the season.
Which driver from any team (including your own) has impressed you most this year? Why?
Chris [Atkinson] has been very impressive this season. He has shown great maturity and consistency, leading to his four podium finishes this year. Even with some bad luck on the last two events, he is still fourth in the championship and in a strong position to fight for the top three. He has really developed as a driver since the end of last season.
How much testing will you do between Turkey and Finland and what technical aspects of the car are you concentrating on?
We have three tests planned, including the first tarmac test for the new car which Markko completed last month. Tarmac performance is a big area of focus for us with a brand new car, but we are also concentrating on performance testing in conditions more akin to those of the remaining rallies this year. Greece and Turkey were unique, very different to the rest of the season, so our aim there was to cross the finish and to show reliability. From now on we are working on pure performance.
Do you have any significant technical developments planned for your car between now and the end of the year?
With every rally we learn more about the new car and its characteristics, so the emphasis is on making lots of small steps to maximise the performance of every aspect of it.