Subaru - Come Back Kings!

Subaru - Come Back Kings!From Subaru Press [ 19/10/2003 ].
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Continuing yesterday’s remarkable performance, Petter Solberg delivered another strategically perfect drive to maintain his overnight lead and win the rally, the fourth victory of his WRC career. Winning by a margin of 36.6 seconds, the Norwegian claimed a maximum ten points in both the Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ Championships, and now lies just three points off the lead of the Drivers’ contest. Not only did his victory mark an impressive 38th WRC win for Subaru, but it also underlined the competitive gains made by the Pirelli/Subaru partnership on asphalt. After a trouble free rally, Tommi Mäkinen finished seventh to collect more points for Subaru.

Aside from the WRC, there was more good news for Subaru from the Tour de Corse, when Martin Rowe, driving an Impreza WRX STi, clinched victory in the 2003 Production Car WRC competition, of which Corsica was the final round. Subaru achieved a clean sweep of the PCWRC podium, with Toshi Arai finishing second and Stig Blomqvist third.

Petters car on Thursday night:

David Lapworth, 555 Subaru World Rally Team Principal: “Quite simply, it’s a fantastic result. And one the whole team can be very proud of. When you consider the state the car was in on Thursday – and you really had to see it to believe it - to have pulled a win out of the bag here is a huge credit to both the team and Petter and Phil. After the disappointment of Sanremo, we’ve proved that things can turn around completely, and the Championship is once again wide open. There’s a terrific team spirit now, and a new level of optimism ahead of Catalunya.”

Petter Solberg: “I almost don’t have words to describe it – it’s definitely been the most special win for me this year! The way I’m feeling now is just incredible. Everyone in the team has worked so hard to put me here, and to go from such a low on Thursday to such a high now is almost unbelievable. Once the rally got underway, things went completely according to plan and I have a really good feeling now about the rest of the season. I’ve already proved my performance in Wales and we’ve shown here that anything can happen on tarmac.”

Tommi Mäkinen: “Things improved steadily for us throughout the rally and we’re very happy about our performance today. We seem to have found a very good set-up now for these conditions and this should really help us in Catalunya. Petter’s done a great job over the last few days and he really deserves this fantastic win. We’re happy to have collected some points for Subaru and will be looking for another points scoring finish in Catalunya next week.”

Fiore Brivio, Pirelli Tyres Rally Manager: “We’re delighted with this result. Both Tommi and Petter have been very happy with the performance of their Pirelli tarmac rally tyres. Both Petter and Tommi selected a mixture of Pirelli PZero RX and RE pattern tyres, enabling Petter to overcome a deficit of 46 seconds to win by more than 36 seconds today. This categorically proves the performance of the PZero and Subaru package. With just a few days until Spain we will continue to work flat-out to get the best results possible on both the remaining rounds.”

With two Mediterranean asphalt rallies run back-to-back, the penultimate round of the 2003 World Rally Championship, Rallye Catalunya, starts on Thursday 23 October. The all-asphalt rally is based at the coastal town of Lloret de Mar and features sweeping and smooth, high-speed stages in the countryside to the north.