Subaru's lead driver Petter Solberg crossed the finish ramp of Rallye Deutschland in seventh place this afternoon after a tough three days of competition on the German asphalt.
On the Leg's six stages Solberg continued to make up lost time, after problems on day two dropped him
from fourth to 13th overall. Determined to achieve the best possible result, he pushed hard right until the end and set the fastest time on the penultimate special stage.
Stephane Sarrazin's day started well, with the French asphalt ace closely matching the pace of the lead Citroen duo on SS14, but a broken driveshaft later on meant he had to settle for eighth overall. Chris Atkinson completed a trouble-free run on his first ever asphalt rally to finish 11th overall.
“Today Stéphane and I agreed not to fight for this position, as he had deserved this place. It was very unfortunate that his driveshaft problem then cost him the place giving me the extra point. On the whole, today was better for me as the stages were narrow and twistier and suited the car and me. We kept pushing, always trying a few things and kept learning more. We now have lots of work to do before Rally GB, as we want to be able to push for a fourth win there!”
“I am very happy with my pace all weekend, although the result itself was not so great. Today it was a big shame to lose the driveshaft and with it another position. I now know that I can fight with the top guys and being in the same car as Petter am pleased that I have swapped and sometimes bettered his times. When I push I know I can be very fast. I am pleased with the car and it is so easy to drive which gives me the extra confidence to push and drive fast. I'm now looking forward to Corsica and Spain when we should be able to get a good result.”
“This has been one of my better rallies of the year, despite never having driven a tarmac rally before. I have been improving steadily all weekend and that is encouraging. I started the weekend nearly three seconds a kilometre behind the top drivers but by today that gap has been as little as 0.4 seconds a kilometre. I'm definitely happy with my progress and have met or exceeded all the targets we agreed before the weekend. There's a lot we can take away from here that will stand us in good stead for the tarmac rallies later in the year.”
David Lapworth, Team Principal
“It has been a long, difficult weekend with more lows than highs. After Saturday's gear selection problem, Petter missed out on a fight closer to the podium, however he has made good progress back up the leaderboard, showing great character, and can take some consolation with a fastest stage time late today. We are very encouraged with the pace of both Stephane and Chris. Both have shown good speed given their relative inexperience at this level.
“For Chris this was his first three days of tarmac rallying and the way he has quickened throughout the rally bodes well for the future. Stephane has been able to trade stage times with the Peugeots and Citroens and we are confident that with this experience we can deliver a good result on the remaining two tarmac events this year. From here we now go to Rally GB which is an event where the Subaru-Pirelli package has historically been dominant. Our motivation is very high to maintain that run of success on the team's home event.”
Round 12 of the 16 event 2005 FIA World Rally Championship starts in three weeks time, when crews move to the UK. Based in Cardiff, the Welsh capital, the gravel event has become famous for its muddy, gravel stages run through the forests of south Wales. The rally gets underway on Friday morning in west Wales and goes through to finish in the shadow of Margam Castle in the south. New for 2005 are the Superspecials in Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on Saturday and Sunday. Crews will contest 17 stages over the three days.
Press release Subaru World Rally Team