The arrival of a Subaru 'B' team next season will be a major boost for the Banbury-based squad as it bids to re-discovery its glory days and get back to winning ways, that is the view of Petter Solberg's co-driver Phil Mills.
Subaru launched its new car in Greece just prior to the World Rally Championships summer break and while some progress has been made since then, the Fords and Citroens remain quite a way out front, much to the frustration of Mills and 'Hollywood'.
Mills is optimistic however that the addition of the Adapta World Rally Team - which is currently down to run two Impreza WRC2008s at the ten European events in 2009, with an option on the long-hauls in Argentina and Australia - will be a positive rather than a drain on resources.
"It will be very good for us actually as you end up testing on events now and so the more cars you can get out there the better," he told Crash.net Radio
at the recent Castle Combe Rallyday. "That is one of the problems that we have had. We have been very much on our own.
"But now we can get more customers out there. They are not tied by the same rules as us and so they can test different components. It will work very, very well. I wish we could have had it this year."
Mills had been really optimistic about Subaru's prospects going into the second part of the year and even went so far pre-Finland to tell Crash.net Radio
that they might take a win towards the end of this season. While that looks less likely now, he maintains they are moving forward still, albeit not quite as quickly as they would all like.
"It has been a difficult three or four seasons now. But the new car is early in its development stages and that is where we are with it," he added. "You can't go testing all the time like you use to be able to years ago and so you are testing on events. It is very frustrating testing in public. It is a slow, slow job, but we are getting there, albeit slowly."
So how are things looking for the two asphalt events coming up in Spain and France?
"On asphalt we know roughly where we are because of how we performed in Germany and on high-grip events, such as Corsica, it will be okay. We seem to struggle on the low grip events, which is events like Catalunya and so we don't expect to do too much there. But we are not really concentrating on tarmac too much anyway.
"There is only one proper tarmac rally next year [Spain] - and Ireland, which is a very muddy event. We are concentrating on gravel development and that is where all the work is going into," he summed-up.
TO HEAR THE INTERVIEW IN FULL WITH PHIL MILLS: CLICK HERE