Solberg, Atkinson and Tirabassi are ready
The World Rally Championship took a four-week break between Rally New Zealand at the end of August and this week's upcoming event in Spain.
During that time, Subaru World Rally Team drivers Petter Solberg and Chris Atkinson
have been keeping busy, and so has the team's third driver, Brice Tirabassi, as he prepares for his first works World Rally Championship drive with SWRT.
Solberg has been training hard, including lots of karting with his family, but he has also been getting restless recently...
"I don't like waiting" he stated. "I just want to drive."
"I've been preparing myself to the maximum since New Zealand, and I hope we can build on what we had in Germany," said 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," the Norwegian pointed out.
Teammate Atkinson travelled to Australia after Rally New Zealand for a few days of PR activities, but also to spend time with his family before returning to Monaco and training hard for a busy month of October.
"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," the Australian explained.
"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," he added.
Of course, weather is always a consideration, as Atkinson underlined: "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, Subaru 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.
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," declared 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," he anticipated. "My objective in Spain is to understand the car better and find the limit, and carry all this into Corsica the week after."