Subaru has targeted a strong end to the 2008 World Rally Championship as the season draws to a close with the Rally Wales GB.
Although the introduction of the latest generation Impreza hasn't seen Subaru return to the form that saw them clinch their last WRC title in Wales five years ago, the team is nonetheless encouraged with the improvements that have been made in recent weeks.
Indeed, Subaru team principal David Richards points out that the car's pace last time out in Japan should act as a prelude to what they could achieve in similar conditions through the forests of Wales.
“SWRT has always enjoyed a great record of success on Rally GB and it is an event we therefore look forward to. Being slightly later in the season this year I am sure the conditions are going to be even more challenging than usual with a strong likelihood of ice and even snow in the forests of mid-Wales.
“Rally GB marks the end of a very long season during which we have steadily improved the performance of our new car, and I am sure that after recent testing both Petter and Chris are looking forward to starting the event.”
For Solberg, the Rally Wales GB will always have a special significance for him having clinched the title there in 2003. Indeed, the Norwegian driver has traditionally performed well in Wales and is anticipating a podium challenge this year.
“I like the rally a lot and we're normally fast when it's foggy or raining with lots of mud so I'm looking forward to it” he said. “I think pace notes play a huge part here. It's about perfection with the notes and the way Phil gives them and helps with judging distances when visibility is poor.
“That's where he is very strong. In the past we've generally always been fighting for a win or fighting at the top here. We had some good speed on Saturday and Sunday in Japan which gives us a positive going into GB. There are still a few little things we need to work on for sure, but there was another small improvement with the car in the last test.”
Chris Atkinson, meanwhile, goes into the final round tied on points with Jari-Mati Latvala for fourth position in the overall standings. He too is confident Subaru's good form there will see him challenging towards the front.