Subaru has announced that it will run a third Impreza WRC2008 on the remaining asphalt events on the 2008 World Rally Championship calendar in Spain and Corsica.
SWRT managing director Richard Taylor had revealed to Crash.net
back in April that the team could look to run a third car 'sometime in the second half of the season', with the suggestion being that Xevi Pons could get an outing with the team having originally been pencilled in to compete on all 15 events before a 'number of issues' meant the plan didn't go ahead.
However, while the team will now run a third car on the two remaining asphalt events this year, the seat will be taken by former JWRC title winner Brice Tirabassi – who recently called a halt to his campaign in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.
The 31-year-old Frenchman drove an Impreza WRC2002 in 2004 before campaigning an Impreza Spec C in the 2005 Group N championship, and he said he was looking forward to taking part in the two WRC events.
"I am very happy to be taking part in these two events with a team of the level of the Subaru World Rally Team," he said. "I have not much experience of driving a WRC car, but I know both events quite well.
"My objective in Spain is to understand the car better, learn more about the team and find the limit. In Corsica, if I feel comfortable enough the plan is to use more of the car's performance and push a little bit harder."
Tirabassi will spend two days testing ahead of Catalunya to bring him up to speed, and Taylor said he was pleased to see the team strengthen its line-up for the tarmac outings.
"We are pleased to welcome Brice back to the Subaru fold, and this time in a factory-prepared Impreza World Rally Car," he said. "We've been talking to Brice since just after the Acropolis Rally so it's great that we've agreed a deal that will aid Brice's campaign and strengthen our line-up for the final two back-to-back tarmac rallies of the season."