by Rob Wilkins


Subaru World Rally Team managing director Richard Taylor has said that while the team is getting closer to launching the new Impreza WRC, it still won't be seen on events for a 'little while yet'.

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The Banbury-based outfit has had to make do with the 2007 spec car thus far this season and while Petter Solberg and Chris Atkinson haven't been able to challenge for wins, they have both been pretty competitive, with the latter notching up three podiums, including two runners-up spots on the last two rounds in Mexico and Argentina.

The big question is though, when will the new car makes it debut? - and while Finland has long been rumoured and would seem to make sense, as it comes following the summer break, running from August 1-3, Taylor maintains that no date has yet been set.

"We have not decided yet," he confirmed to Radio when asked about a likely launch date in the build up to the inaugural WRC round in Jordan this week. "We are obviously getting closer to it.

"Development is going very well so far - we are very pleased with where we have got to. Obviously we started testing a couple of months back now, back near Christmas time actually.

"So far everything is going very well and according to plan. Once we are comfortable we have got the performance and level of durability from testing that we have set to get us to the rallies then we will be making an announcement and bringing the car out.

"But not for a little while yet still."

Asked about the season to date, Taylor added that the team has been pleased with the results notched up by Solberg and Atkinson.

Indeed so far the outfit has 33 points on the board and while that puts them behind Citroen and Ford in the manufacturers' championship, the deficit isn't huge, with the leaders Ford, only 11 points in front.

"We are pretty pleased actually with the way things have gone. We would really rather it was 39 points, because Petter [Solberg] should have been able to finish second in Argentina without that problem on the last day. But 33 points is the best start to the season we have had for a while," he continued.

"I think both of our drivers have shown really good pace. It was quite obvious in Argentina that Petter was much more comfortable with the car and was going very strongly.

"Chris has obviously had a very good start to the season - and has had three podiums. Those are excellent results and it obviously helps to build his confidence.

"I think both of them are now really looking forward to getting the new car and to getting on with the season."

As for what can be achieved on the fifth round in the championship, Taylor said the targets remain the same as they have been on the other four events this season.

"Obviously we are still using the old car and whilst we do that the expectations are to try and keep getting decent points for both drivers," he re-affirmed.

"I'd like to see them both in the top five or top six places and that is what we should be aiming for. I think we have proved on each event so far this year that the car is capable of that."