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Q&A: Richard Taylor - EXCLUSIVE.

by Rob Wilkins


Subaru's managing director Richard Taylor hasn't had the easiest of years at the helm - but, despite that it has not all been bad for the Banbury-based outfit and work is progressing well on the new car for 2008. Crash.net Radio caught up with him just prior to the final event of the season, the Wales Rally GB and spoke to him about 2007 and more...


Crash.net:
Richard, how would you sum up the 2007 season for Subaru?

Richard Taylor:
Clearly it has been a poor season by our general standards. We haven't produced the results or the performances that are typical of Subaru or that we would have aimed for or expected to do.

Crash.net:
Obviously not a good year, as you say, but what lessons have been learned and what positives can you take from the last two years?

RT:
I think we will perhaps wait to draw final conclusions until after GB [Subaru finished 4th, 7th and 9th on Wales Rally GB and secured third spot in the manufacturers' championship - ed]. But overall we have learned a lot about the current car. In the last few months in particular we have made a few steps forward with a lot of learning towards the 2008 car. To be fair though that hasn't been reflected in the results we have achieved and at the end of the day that is all you can be truthfully judged by.

Crash.net:
You will have an unchanged driver line-up again next year, how much will that help?

RT:
Yes of course it does - continuity is good. We hope to add to the strength of the overall package too by bringing in some additional test driving expertise to the team. Partly this is because with the new car coming on stream we are just going to have more work load than it is reasonable to expect Petter [Solberg] or Chris [Atkinson] to undertake.

Crash.net:
Kris Meeke has been linked to that role. Is there any news on that front and who the test driver might be?

RT:
No, we have not finalised anything yet. Kris has had a run in the car with us and gave us some very, very good feedback and demonstrated his abilities as a test driver. But we are still considering exactly what our needs are going to be and we will be working that out over the next few weeks.

Crash.net:
Petter Solberg seems to have been quite down at times this year, how worrying is that?

RT:
Obviously the results have been very frustrating for everybody in the team. But particularly for Petter as he is the one at the front and the one actually sitting in the car and trying to make it work. It is our job to improve the car and to give him the vehicle that enables him to get the results we all want to see.

Crash.net:
How is work progressing on the new 2008 spec Impreza?

RT:
It is coming along very, very well. We have made very good progress with the project over the last three or four months. The car looks very, very good and everything we have seen of it so far is positive. But of course again we have got to get the car out there and really prove it works and make it reliable and make sure we have the right level of performance.

Crash.net:
Have you pencilled in yet when it might actually make its debut next year?

RT:
No, as we have said for a while now, we are going to wait until the first tests have been undertaken in the early part of the New Year before deciding when we will actually launch it on event.

Crash.net:
How difficult is it going to be to get back and challenge Ford and Citroen?

RT:


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Richard Taylor, CEO Prodrive, Subaru World Rally Team. Rally Japan. 26-28th October 2007.
Richard Taylor (GBR), Managing Director, Subaru WRT. Rally New Zealand. 31st August - 2 September 2007.
Richard Taylor (GBR), Managing Director, Subaru WRT. Rally New Zealand. 31st August - 2 September 2007.
Marcus Gronholm and Mads Ostberg. Neste Oil Helsinki Battle 2014 [Pic credit: VW]
Markku Alen. Neste Oil Helsinki Battle 2014 [Pic credit: VW]
Markku Alen and Jari-Matti Latvala. Neste Oil Helsinki Battle 2014 [Pic credit: VW]
Fans. auto24 Rally Estonia 2014 [Pic credit: ERC]
Sander Parn. ERC 2WD winner. auto24 Rally Estonia 2014 [Pic credit: ERC]
Timmu Korge. Ford Fiesta R5. auto24 Rally Estonia 2014 [Pic credit: ERC]
Alexey Lukyanuk. Mitsubishi Lancer Evo. auto24 Rally Estonia 2014 [Pic credit: ERC]
Ott Tanak. Ford Fiesta R5. auto24 Rally Estonia 2014 [Pic credit: ERC]
Timmu Korge
Ott Tanak
Bryan Bouffier - Hyundai Shell World Rally Team
Dani Sordo. Hyundai i20 WRC. Goodwood Festival of Speed 2014
Dani Sordo. Hyundai i20 WRC. Goodwood Festival of Speed 2014
Simone Tempestini (ROM) Dorin Pulpea (ROM), Citroen DS3 R3
Simone Tempestini (ROM) Dorin Pulpea (ROM), Citroen DS3 R3

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