Australia : Subaru World Rally Team
Both Subaru World Rally Team drivers demonstrated highly competitive pace throughout Leg two with Petter Solberg and Chris Atkinson taking a combined total of three stage wins.
After losing time in Leg one Chris made good progress
back up the leaderboard, taking two wins and moving from tenth to sixth place. Petter started the Leg with a comfortable overall lead, which he extended with a win in the first test of the day. But a shock lay in store on the next stage when a high speed collision with a hapless kangaroo destroyed his car's radiator. The resulting engine damage brought his rally to an end after SS13.
“I feel a bit like I did after our retirement in Japan. Everything was going perfectly, the car was just right, we had the speed and then something just came out of the blue. Obviously I'm terribly disappointed for Subaru and the whole team, they deserved this win. I sincerely hope we've used up all our bad luck now. Hitting the poor kangaroo was a horrible experience, but there was no time to avoid it, I suppose Phil and I were lucky in some respects because if he'd been up in the air I reckon he could have come through the screen and hit us both.
“Up to that point things had been going perfectly. I wasn't pushing hard at all, there was no need for a big attack, but when you're on a long straight you always go flat out and there was nothing I could do to avoid it. It's incredible really, we didn't see a single one on the recce and yet this happens today. Still, it is some consolation that we have the silver medal in the drivers' championship this year and that's still a good result for all of us. We'll be back next year looking to set the record straight.”
“On the whole we've had a good day today. Things didn't get off to the best start with the spin on the first stage but considering the less than perfect road position and the lack of our front spoiler, we did all we could. This afternoon I was far happier with the way we went. We were able to win some stages and I'm pleased with our progress from tenth to sixth. For tomorrow I'll just keep on pushing and try to take more time from the guys in front. There are still another 100kms left to go and I'll do all I can to get the best possible result.”
David Lapworth, Technical Director
“Another good day for Chris. His times this afternoon were particularly impressive and he's already making progress up the leaderboard. Apart from the spin he's kept out of trouble and at this rate he's well on course to achieve a good result despite the bad luck on Friday. In sport there are some things you can control and some you can't. Everything was going perfectly for Petter until lunchtime today. He was controlling his pace, leading the rally and was very happy with the car. The incident with the kangaroo was totally beyond our control but we just have to accept that the nature of rallying is that natural hazards and these kinds of outside factors are all part of the drama. While it looks like we won't get to finish the season with the win we felt we deserved, our performance both here and in Japan leaves us both upbeat and confident to put the record straight next year.”
Crews leave Perth parc fermé from 0630hrs for the final Leg of Rally Australia. The Leg comprises two loops of three stages and 103.32 competitive kilometres with the speed tests taking place near the town of Mundaring to the east of the host city. The final Leg includes the longest stage of the event, Helena North at 29.93km. The podium finish is scheduled for 1445hrs in Perth.
Press release Subaru World Rally Team