A delighted Petter Second

A delighted Petter SecondFrom Subaru Press [ 29/10/2006 ].
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Subaru World Rally Team driver Petter Solberg finished Rally Australia in second place today after an excellent performance on the red gravel roads around Perth. Solberg’s Impreza WRC2006 ran perfectly over the final 103 kilometres and enabled him to win three of the day’s stages –and a total of six throughout the rally. After a small mistake on Leg one cost Chris Atkinson the rally lead and 25-minutes of penalty time, his focus switched to learning the stages and testing for the next WRC round in New Zealand. Nevertheless, another consistent and reliable run from Atkinson moved him up seven more places today and he finished inside the top ten. Overall the weekend was an encouraging one for Subaru, with both factory Imprezas showing an increased level of competitiveness after a relatively disappointing season so far.

Subaru World Rally Team managing director, Richard Taylor: “It’s been quite some weekend! We’ve had both drivers leading during the rally; we won nine stages and then came home with second overall. This is a big milestone for the Subaru team as there have been a lot of difficult events in the past few months. You cannot turn a car’s performance around overnight and there has been a great deal of hard work to get us this far. We’re not at the top of the podium yet and so we still have much more work to do.”

Petter Solberg: “I am very, very happy to get second place. It’s been a really tough season and the team has been working so hard for this, day and night. We’re still going to keep pushing on the car, as there’s still more to do, but today I am really pleased for all the team and mechanics as it’s a big boost for everyone.”

Chris Atkinson: “It’s not the result we wanted, but we had the pace we wanted and we haven’t had that speed for a long time. To be leading the rally on Friday was good and sure, we made a small mistake, but it’s encouraging to have that speed. I don’t think we would have held onto the lead but we would have been on the podium. So while the result is disappointing, we’re encouraged and keep on learning about the car.”

News from PirelliMario Isola, Pirelli Competizioni Rally Manager: "Throughout the weekend both Subaru drivers have used the Pirelli KP tread pattern tyre. The tyres performed very well throughout the event, despite some very hot and slippery conditions. It is very good to see Petter back on the podium and we look forward to seeing more success.”

The next, and penultimate round of the 2006 World Rally Championship is Rally New Zealand, which starts in three weeks’ time from a new base in the city of Hamilton. A classic drivers’ rally, the stunning gravel roads in New Zealand are like rollercoasters that carve through the lush green countryside of the North Island. Subaru has enjoyed considerable success on the event, with Petter Solberg claiming a momentous victory there in 2004. Leg one begins on Friday 17 November.