Subaru's managing director Richard Taylor is 'optimistic' that the squad will still be able to run a third car next season in the World Rally Championship despite the economic downturn.

The Banbury-based outfit had been due to run a third Impreza WRC for Xavier Pons this year, but in the end that never actually happened and it was only in Catalunya and Corsica that 2003 J-WRC champion Brice Tirabassi joined regular drivers' Petter Solberg and Chris Atkinson.

Speaking exclusively to Crash.net Radio recently though, Taylor added that an announcement could be made soon. He also reiterated that Britain's Guy Wilks is one of those in the running for that third seat.

"We are talking to a number of people. We are optimistic that we will be able to finalise something fairly soon. It is still very much our wish to run a third car next year," Taylor explained.

"Guy is one of the people we are talking to and as always at this time of year everybody is looking at the options that they have got and what they will be doing next season. He is definitely in contention and as I said, is one of the guys we are in talks with."

As for speculation that Petter Solberg or Chris Atkinson might not remain in '09, Taylor rubbished such reports.

"Chris [Atkinson] and Petter [Solberg] are both contracted as has been publically known for a long time. They are both contracted and both will obviously be there in 2009," he said simply.

He also dismissed outright talk of Prodrive and Subaru splitting: "No [there is no truth to that either], none at all," he continued. "We are all working very hard together on getting the performance back to where it should be.

"We are obviously looking to make some further improvements and I think in the last couple of months we have definitely got the direction with the car right.

"The drivers' are feeling more confident with it and we will go into 2009 looking for a big step forward and looking to be much closer and mixing it with Ford and with Citroen."

by Rob Wilkins

TO HEAR THE INTERVIEW IN FULL WITH RICHARD TAYLOR: CLICK HERE