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Petter: Finland was one tough event for me.

Subaru number one driver Petter Solberg had to settle for sixth place and three points on the Neste Oil Rally Finland on Sunday after what he described as a weekend 'full of problems'.

Petter and his team-mate Chris Atkinson were both a bit off the pace on the opening leg on Friday, but while Atkinson made progress on days two and three and hauled himself up to third, 'Hollywood' remained locked towards the bottom end of the points.

His times did however improve and he finished the event on something of a high, by closing in on his brother Henning in fifth - cutting the gap from almost 30 seconds at the end of day two to just 6.4 at the finish - and by setting the pace in the final stage, the 6.46 km Ruuhimaki test.

"It has been a tough rally and a weekend full of problems, especially yesterday which was unbelievable. Everybody has been working flat out to get the car competitive but it just wasn't good enough. We're sixth and that's how it is," said the 2003 World champion.

"When everything was working it felt very good, but I lost the feeling at times yesterday and on Friday. There were times when I felt I just couldn't push. The car is still not 100 per cent.

"Today was much better though, but by then we'd lost too much time to be able to climb back up any higher. We have a week until Germany now for the team to keep working on the car, and we'll see what we can do there, the first time on tarmac. It will be very difficult but we really hope we can be on the case."

Subaru's technical director David Lapworth meanwhile was more positive and he was especially pleased with Chris Atkinson's drive to secure the final spot on the podium, 'best of the rest' after Sebastien Loeb and Mikko Hirvonen, who were in a class of their own throughout the three-days.

"We used Greece and Turkey as part of extended test programme, so this is the first event in which we've really focussed on our performance on gravel. It's been our first chance to really see how the car performs on gravel and how the work done in testing translates to a rally, and it is clear we've made good progress," Lapworth added.

"Chris did a great job, and we learned a lot that we will take into New Zealand in particular, as the next gravel rally, as we continue the steep part of the learning curve that we are currently in."


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james - Unregistered

August 04, 2008 11:35 PM

Yes i bitch alot, but I cant stress enough how dissapointed I am with subaru''s new performance, its no better than the last car, so you have to ask, is it car or driver. I cant actually see subaru improving much by the end of the yr. This was their chance, they have had yrs to prepare, and they were over a second a km off the pace, thats not much better than Suzuki!



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