Subaru have confirmed that Petter Solberg
will definitely not re-start the Rally Finland on Sunday - and that his Impreza WRC car will be sent back to their base in Banbury tonight so that they can carry out a 'detailed analysis' of just what is wrong with it.
Petter had to endure severe handling problems again during the second leg on Saturday, similar to what he had on the first loop on Friday.
Furthermore while his mechanics again attempted to cure the issues in service F, it was no good and after completing SS15 over a minute off the pace, the decision was taken to withdraw him, partly as he had no chance to get points and it is best to preserve the engine for the next event and partly due to safety concerns.
“Since withdrawing Petter from the leg we have looked over the car and decided he will not rejoin the rally tomorrow. There is no chance for him to score any drivers' points now, and the decision will also safeguard his car's engine which we must use in Germany,” explained Subaru's managing director, Richard Taylor.
“Safety was also a major consideration. It is in Petter's nature to push as hard as possible, but we are not prepared for him to do that in a car in which we have less than 100 per cent confidence.
“We believe this is the most responsible course of action. Tonight Petter's car will leave for our UK headquarters so we can carry out a more detailed analysis in its present state.”
Despite the problems though with Solberg's car, Finland hasn't all been bad for Subaru, far from it in fact. Indeed Chris Atkinson
has shone in the number two car and is well on his way to taking fourth place, while Xavier Pons is sixth on his first outing with the team.
"Chris has driven very well today; he made no mistakes and has done an excellent job of consolidating his fourth place,” Taylor added, when asked about his two other drivers'.
“Xevi has also had a positive day – especially as this was only his second competitive day in the car. Both drivers are well positioned ahead of tomorrow's final leg, and I hope we'll get two cars in the top-six.”