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Solberg And Subaru Claim Second Place Finish In Greece!

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Acropolis Rally, final standings:

1 Sébastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC

2 Petter Solberg Subaru WRT Impreza WRC 2008 1’09’’5

3 Mikko Hirvonen BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC 07 1’56’’1

4 Urmo Aava PH Sport-Citroen C4 WRC 4’19’’7

5 Dani Sordo Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC 4’49’’4

6 Matthew Wilson Stobart VK Ford Focus WRC 07 6’11’’3

7 Jari-Matti Latvala BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC 07 6’47’’5

8 Henning Solberg Stobart VK Ford Focus WRC 07 9’14’’0

9 Toni Gardemeister Suzuki WRT SX4 WRC 10’13’’8

10 Conrad Rautenbach PH Sport-Citroen C4 WRC 13’29’’1


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Holy Crap

Sorry LOL.

Anyway its nice to see scooby do"o well :D

Hey but you beat me with a pic, so cheer up mate.

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Solberg was stoked. The new car was very very fast on debut and he wasn't even pushing, he said. After the lack of development (and pace) of the old car, he deserves a competitive ride, so good for him.

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Hope this is a new episode of the "Comeback Kid"...and i mean the SWRT2008 car.

Hate the new shape, but really glad to see Subaru (hopefully) back in form...

Some fantastic hi-res pics, including a Solberg "on two wheels" shot....


awesome pictures - been waiting for some good ones - thanx gunat

....hmmm i don't think any of us started off liking that shape , but it does grow on you,esp. when its in SWRT livery :D

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Hope this is a new episode of the "Comeback Kid"...and i mean the SWRT2008 car.

Hate the new shape, but really glad to see Subaru (hopefully) back in form...

Some fantastic hi-res pics, including a Solberg "on two wheels" shot....


That guy sitting on the left of the pic in pic 12 is what you would call a dedicated nut. And I mean NUT!

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RallyRACC Catalunya preview - 2nd ~ 5th October 2008

Solberg and Atkinson joined by Tirabassi for round 12 of the WRC

On the first weekend of October the Subaru World Rally Team will travel to Spain with three works entries as the World Rally Championship returns to tarmac. RallyRACC Catalunya Costa Daurada is the penultimate tarmac event of the year and the first half of a back-to-back asphalt double-header on which SWRT will be running a trio of Impreza WRC2008s for the first time.

Rally Catalunya is often said to be the closest the WRC gets to a circuit race, owing to its smooth and flowing asphalt surface. Most of the rally route has been resurfaced over the years making the roads clean and grippy, in contrast to the dirty asphalt of the last sealed surface event in Germany in mid-August.

“There are lots of long, long corners in Spain on very smooth tarmac so grip is good and speeds are generally quite high” said Paul Howarth, Subaru World Rally Team operations director. “This means the lateral loads on the cars and tyres are also very high. The rally is all about rhythm, and very early on it will be obvious if anyone hasn’t got settled.

“We are in the Tarragona region so we don’t go up into the hills where the rally used to be, which means that pretty much all the route is fast to medium-fast. We have a mixture of hard and soft compound Pirelli tyres, which will have to be strategically used to account for the sudden rain showers that can change everything. With our focus on gravel development, we haven’t been able to do a pre-event test here so there’ll be a bit to learn.”

This sentiment is shared by the team’s technical director, David Lapworth, who is eagerly anticipating the significant step forward in development that two asphalt events in two weeks will undoubtedly facilitate.

“These two tarmac rallies in two weeks will boost us massively, as we learned a great deal just from Rally Germany” he commented. “We’ll be using a combination of Markko’s base setup from his early tests and improvements we have been able to make after Germany to take another step forward on tarmac.

“We are very happy with testing so far, and the conditions in which Markko did all the early tarmac testing are far more similar to the roads in Spain than those in Germany so it should suit us better. We have had limited testing here though as a result of our focus on gravel development to date, so at the same time we must be realistic about how far through our refinement process we are with the new car.”

It has been one month since the last rally in New Zealand at the end of August, and Solberg and Atkinson have been making best use of that time.

“I’ve been preparing myself to the maximum since New Zealand, and I hope we can build on what we had in Germany” said Petter Solberg. “I really had good fun driving there, so I definitely hope we can have even more fun in Spain. It won’t be easy, but it’s a rally I like and the route is fun to drive anyway.

“Spain is a very different rally to Germany with very different roads, a lot cleaner and more flowing, but if you can drive, you can drive, so it’s not that big a change. We’re always driving flat out anyway, so you don’t do much different inside the car. It’ll be an important rally though as it’ll go a long way to deciding the result in Corsica the week after.”

Chris Atkinson echoed the Norwegian’s comments: “Spain is a very different event to Germany, where we were last on tarmac. The roads are wide, smooth and high-grip, and you can carry a lot of corner speed because of this. It’s about the highest lateral load we get all season, and whilst it doesn’t really affect us because we train for it, you notice it for sure inside the car. Because it’s smooth it gets very slippery when it rains as the water doesn’t run away, but when you get a series of corners right, it’s a great feeling.”

Alongside the works entries of Solberg and Atkinson, SWRT will run a third factory car for both this rally and the next round in Corsica. Impreza WRC2008 number 15 will be driven by Frenchman Brice Tirabassi, and the 2003 JWRC Champion is keen to get behind the wheel of a works Subaru for the first time.

“I am very happy to be taking part in these two events with a team of this level” commented Brice Tirabassi. “I don’t have much experience of driving a WRC car, but I know both events quite well so I am looking forward to getting going. I like Spain, so I hope this means I can focus more easily on learning the team and the car. My objective in Spain is to understand the car better and find the limit, and carry all this into Corsica the week after.”

The rally itself is based in Europe’s largest theme park, PortAventura, in the holiday destination of Salou, which lies 110 kilometres south-west of Barcelona on the Mediterranean coast.

Rally Catalunya is scheduled in the region’s spring season, and whilst generally pleasant and popular with holidaymakers and rally fans alike, the weather can be notoriously changeable. Temperatures are expected to rest between 10 and 20 degrees Celsius, but rain can soon form as clouds crest the surrounding mountains of the Tarragona region and the inclement weather builds. On the smooth roads, sudden storms can easily flood the surrounding drainage systems and make grip levels very treacherous.

The organisers have made several changes to the stages since last year, with the inclusion of two brand new speed tests on Saturday. A total of 18 stages, including the renowned El Montmeil and La Serra d’Almos sections from previous years, take crews through 353.62 kilometres of competition after a ceremonial start on Thursday night that, typical of the destination, is just metres from the ocean.


The Subaru World Rally Team has entered three Impreza WRC2008s for RallyRACC Catalunya. Petter Solberg and Phil Mills will drive number five, and team-mates Chris Atkinson and Stéphane Prévot number six. Number 15, the third Impreza WRC2008, will be piloted by Frenchmen Brice Tirabassi and his co-driver Fabrice Gordon.

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Atkinson last year in Catalunya


isn't that just spectacular! :)

wish i had a hi res image for my desktop!

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things aren't looking that good for SWRT...but it ain't over till the fat lady sings ya! hopefully the tide and the leaderboard will change after todays stages...

Overall times after SS6 / Day 1 - Top 20:

1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC 1hour 10mins 11.5secs M

2. Daniel Sordo Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC +00mins 15.8secs M

3. Francois Duval BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC 08 +00mins 41.3secs M

4. Mikko Hirvonen BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC 08 +00mins 44.1secs M

5. Petter Solberg Subaru WRT Impreza WRC 2008 +01mins 47.5secs M

6. Urmo Aava PH Sport-Citroen C4 WRC +02mins 01.2secs A8

7. Jari-Matti Latvala Stobart VK Ford Focus WRC 07 +02mins 04.4secs MT

8. Chris Atkinson Subaru WRT Impreza WRC 2008 +02mins 13.4secs M

9. Andreas Mikkelsen Ramsport Ford Focus WRC 07 +02mins 24.9secs A8

10. Matthew Wilson Stobart VK Ford Focus WRC 07 +03mins 42.1secs MT

11. Conrad Rautenbach PH Sport-Citroen C4 WRC +03mins 53.7secs A8

12. Brice Tirabassi Subaru WRT Impreza WRC 2008 +04mins 03.7secs A8

13. Federico Villagra Munchi's Ford Focus WRC 07 +04mins 31.1secs MT

14. Henning Solberg Munchi's Ford Focus WRC 07 +04mins 34.5secs MT

15. Peter van Merksteijn Ford Focus RS WRC 07 +05mins 36.8secs A8

16. Mads Ostberg Adapta Subaru WRC S12b +05mins 43.8secs A8

17. Toni Gardemeister Suzuki WRT SX4 WRC +05mins 46.8secs M

18. Gareth Jones Subaru Impreza WRC S12B +06mins 18.8secs A8

19. Sebastien Ogier Citroen C2 S1600 +06mins 18.9secs J

20. Eamonn Boland Subaru Impreza WRC S12b +06mins 58.9secs A8

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Catalunya Rally: Subaru WRC Final Recap - Tooth-And-Nail

On the final day of Rally Catalunya, Petter Solberg and Chris Atkinson were locked in yesterday’s tooth-and-nail battles for position, making for a tense finish to the Impreza WRC2008’s second asphalt rally. Frenchman Brice Tirabassi successfully completed his competitive debut with SWRT inside the top ten having delivered an impressive performance on only his second time behind the wheel of the new Impreza.

"It was a solid performance from all three of our drivers today" said David Richards. "Now the key is to build and improve on this as we go to Corsica in only one week’s time."

The final day of Rally Catalunya started with a chill in the air, causing some split tyre compound decisions across the field. Solberg and Atkinson opted for hard tyres all day, whilst Tirabassi was one of three front-running crews to opt for the soft variant in the morning. Whilst posting some very fast stage starts, including the joint second fastest opening sector in the morning’s first stage, Tirabassi was penalised over the first three stages as the air and tyre temperatures increased.

Trading stage times with Urmo Aava throughout the day, Solberg and Phil Mills battled hard in a tense scrap with the Citroen entry. Edging further ahead of the pursuing Aava in the morning, the Estonian clambered ahead in the early afternoon as the two crews traded times in the most exciting battle for position of the rally. Solberg and Mills responded on the penultimate stage and were on track to re-pass Aava before he slid off the road mid-stage, and the SWRT crew reclaimed a hard-won fifth position.

"For sure it’s been a tough rally for us, and fifth place is fifth place but it’s good to be a little way up there" said Petter Solberg. "The car actually felt a little better in the last two stages after I made some changes, so it’s the right direction but we still have more to do. Now we have Corsica straight after to continue this work."

Atkinson and Stéphane Prévot similarly stretched their lead over Ford’s Jari-Matti Latvala with a solid performance in the morning, nearly doubling the overnight gap to 4.3seconds. The race between the two was equally as exciting and tense, the gap as slight as 0.1seconds at times. As the rally neared its feverish conclusion, Latvala edged ahead of the Australian who, also benefiting from Aava’s early exit, crossed the finish in seventh overall.

"For me I had a good weekend and personally I feel I drove well" said Chris Atkinson. "If we had the same times all weekend we’d have been with Petter as we matched him all weekend. But I’m happy with my performance and satisfied with my driving. We won’t make any real changes for Corsica."

Tirabassi and Fabrice Gordon showed good pace during the weekend, the SWRT debutants impressively finishing tenth overall. After three days of encouraging pace and a close battle of their own, the pair moved into eleventh when Conrad Rautenbach crashed halfway through the first test of the morning. On stage 15, the morning’s finale and the shortest of the rally, Tirabassi and Gordon posted their second top-ten stage time of the rally before moving into tenth with Aava’s demise on the day’s penultimate stage.

Switching for the universally favoured hard tyres for the warmer afternoon stages, the duo satisfied all their objectives from this inaugural event, building their confidence ahead of their home rally in Corsica next weekend.

"I am happy with this weekend as we have had good performance and also learnt a lot" said Brice Tirabassi. "I feel more comfortable with the car for Corsica, which is important, but as well as learning a lot this weekend we have also got a good result which I am pleased with. It has been a good weekend for me, and I hope we can continue to learn and get better next week."

Next event

Just four days after Catalunya, crews will cross the start ramp of the second asphalt rally in as many weeks, Rallye de France Tour de Corse. A short hop across the Mediterranean to the island of Corsica presents the most stunning rally of the year. Once nicknamed the rally of 10,000 corners, the tight and twisty routes that wind through the Corsican coastal mountains are well known for their steep drops and sharp hairpin bends. Based in the port of Ajaccio on the western coast, the roads are bumpier and more abrasive than those seen in Spain, making for a tough challenge on the 16 stages and 359.02 kilometres of competition.

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but regardless of all this, the bottom line yet remains that Loeb has won his 4th consecutive Rally of Catalunya! :mellow:

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