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Tough day for the Subaru drivers in Rally Catalunya
Catalunya : Subaru World Rally Team 2005
The Subaru World Rally Team had an eventful first Leg of the 2005 Rally Catalunya. Chris Atkinson completed Leg one without major incident to finish the day in 15th overall, however his team-mates Stéphane Sarrazin and Petter Solberg
retired from the Leg.
Stephane was battling for a points-scoring position, finishing four of the six stages in the top ten, however his rally came to a premature end when he ran wide in the final stage and left the road badly damaging his Impreza WRC2005. Both Stéphane and co-driver Denis Giraudet were uninjured but the car was too badly damaged to continue the rally.

Petter Solberg had a strong start but damaged his steering when he hit a bank in the third stage and retired from the Leg. He will restart tomorrow under Superally regulations.

Petter Solberg
“I was coming up to a left-hand corner just over a crest about 3km from the end of the stage, but I braked a little late and went off the road. The car hit a bank on the right hand side, which broke a link bolt to the track control arm on the front right corner. We didn't have any steering and it was impossible to go on any further. We're going to get it fixed now and will be back again.”

Stephane Sarrazin
“I started to spin at the end of a long fifth gear corner on stage six. I thought I had caught it, but then the car went off so quickly I think it may have clipped something. The car bounced at the rear and landed off the road damaged and unable to continue. About fifteen minutes later the gorse caught fire, probably from the hot exhaust and then very quickly the whole car went up. It's really disappointing as my performance was increasing, I had good pace and the car felt easy. My confidence was growing and now I'm just sorry I'm stopped and we won't be going any further.”

Chris Atkinson
“Today hasn't been so bad. It's good to be here at the end of the day! After some poor tyre calls this morning this afternoon wasn't so bad and for tomorrow the plan is to try and keep building experience. On gravel I know what the car is going to do, but on tarmac I do not yet have that knowledge and confidence to push as hard, as I know I am here to learn.”

David Lapworth, Team Principal
“Today has been quite difficult. On the one hand the car has performed well and we have continued to show some impressive pace. On the other hand the changeable weather has made for some difficult tyre choices for the team. Both Petter and Stéphane had unfortunate accidents, however we all acknowledge when pushing hard that mistakes are possible and the main thing is that the crews are both fine. It has been a real challenge for Chris today with such limited experience having to drive in these conditions. By the end of the day he is already achieving the pace target we agreed before the rally. Petter will be back tomorrow and we're going to take the opportunity to do some testing and try some ideas in real rally conditions.”

Cars leave Salou parc ferme from 0730hrs for a 10 minute service before six stages and 135 competitive kilometres. The Leg, run to the north and west of the host town, features two passes through the El Lloar - La Figuera stage that was last used in 2002 and two runs on the Capafonts speed test, which is Leg one's Vilaplana stage, run backwards.
Press release Subaru World Rally Team


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