13 December 2006
Q&A: Richard Taylor - EXCLUSIVE.
by Rob Wilkins
Subaru World Rally team managing director, Richard Taylor talks exclusively to Crash.net Radio at the Wales Rally GB, the final round in the 2006 FIA World Rally Championship. Here he chats about the teams' year, the new Impreza - that will make its debut in Mexico, their key rivals, Ford and Citroen and lots, lots more...
Richard, give us your thoughts on the 2006 season for Subaru, which has been pretty tough...
It has been a difficult year. The team haven't got the results that we would have anticipated - or that we would have wanted to get this year. But over the last few events, particularly Turkey and Australia - and on Rally GB - we have started to see some decent pace again and some more consistency in the car, which I think bodes well for next season. It is the result of a lot of work that has gone in over the last two months to try and improve the car.
Has there been a specific problem with the car or lots of little things?
It has not been one thing, which is pretty much what we thought when we started investigating the car in the second quarter of the year. It has been a number of things and gradually we have eliminated or improved on one area and then found over areas that we needed to work on. Then we just kept going through that process and have now got a large chunk of the way through it. Some of the things we wanted to do were really homologation related and therefore we won't be able to totally fix them until we get the new car next year. So to summarise, it's not been one thing, it has been lots of different things.
When will we see the new Impreza next year?
That will be in Mexico, we are going to start testing the car after Rally GB. But that isn't to say we aren't going to make improvements on the current car for the first three rallies. We have still got work to do and there is a continuation of the process that we have followed over the last few months, which should still see some improvements, but the big step should be in Mexico.
I believe you have an endurance test next week with the new car, is that going to be running with the new BFGoodrich tyres as well?
Yeah that is correct we are starting an eight day test on Wednesday [after the Rally GB], which will see us running in Spain and France and yes, we will be running with BFGoodrich.
Subaru have been with Pirelli for a long time, how difficult is it going to be making that switch?
Well tyres are one of the key factors – car, tyre and driver are the three critical things. But having said that, it is not as if we are going to a tyre that is unproven in the sport, it is very much proven. I think it will be a pretty smooth transition but obviously we will have a lot of work to do to catch up with those who have been running on BFGoodrich tyres for a while.
You have mentioned the new car, can you give us some general information on what has been addressed in comparison to the 2006-spec one.
I think there are several areas related really to body stiffness, transmission and chassis. Those are the main, the obvious things, I suppose. Those are the main areas we have been working on.
What are the targets for 2007? Is it podiums? Is it wins? Or is it the championship?
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