Petter leads Subaru challenge

Petter leads Subaru challengeFrom Subaru Press [ 11/08/2006 ].
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Petter Solberg leads the Subaru challenge after today’s first Leg of Rally Germany. The Norwegian lies fifth overall thanks largely to the team’s technicians who worked through the night to repair his car after he crashed at the pre-event shakedown test. The Norwegian left service this morning in a near-immaculate car that performed faultlessly throughout the day. Chris Atkinson’s confidence on wet asphalt increased throughout the Leg and the Australian ended the day in ninth place. Stephane Sarrazin struggled with wildly changing weather conditions that never seemed to suit his tyres. He finished the Leg tenth.

Subaru World Rally Team Sporting Director, Luis Moya:

For a lot of us in the team, the fact that Petter was able to start the rally at all today was a kind of victory.The engineers and technicians have worked miracles over the last 24-hours, and for Petter to finish the Leg in the top-five means all the hard work was worthwhile. The biggest single influence on performance today has been the rain.We’ve seen some extremely unusual weather which has made tyre choices almost impossible to call. In such difficult circumstances Petter has done a very good job, he’s run reliably and kept out of trouble.Stephane has struggled in the conditions.His tyre choices haven’t been ideal – especially for the first loop of stages – but we hope for better things over the next couple of days. Chris is still relatively inexperienced on fully wet asphalt but he’s kept a cool head and has run well, increasing his pace and confidence throughout the day.


Petter Solberg:

I started this morning just happy to be able to drive at all, but in fact the day has been pretty good. The rain is the main thing; some drivers have been extremely fortunate with the way it fell, some of us have not! I feel that we have done a good progression with the car, but obviously our tyre choices let us down and we weren’t able to gather much information from the last three stages as the rain just poured down.Tomorrow I’ll try hard and do what I can. I think a podium finish is possible; we just have to get the tyre choices right.


Chris Atkinson:

Not a bad day.I had a reasonable tyre call this afternoon but unfortunately we still got caught out a bit by the weather. On the afternoon loop we were at the back of the running order and it absolutely poured down.We lost some time there, and even through we were better that everyone around us, the guys with a clean run were much faster. But we’re ninth now, and not too far away from sixth really, we’ve been competitive with our team mates and that’s what we wanted to do.


Stephane Sarrazin:

Not great.This morning I had wet tyres for roads that turned out to be dry, and this afternoon a slick tyre for roads that were mainly wet. Unfortunately, the wild weather meant I had the wrong tyre all of the time. My worst moment was on SS7, I spun and lost about 20 seconds, the road was fully wet and on the slick tyre it was unbelievably slippery.Tomorrow, my wish is that I have the right tyres for the right conditions!