A Subaru Impreza won the group N class in a round of the World Rally Championship for the first time in 28 events at the Network Q Rally of Great Britain.

Former British rally champion, David Higgins, in his Barrett's Motorsport Subaru Impreza, beat off stiff competition from the Mitsubishi Lancers to win by just 2.8 secs from the second placed car of Peruvian driver Ferreyros.

Higgins was driving the latest specification Subaru Impreza from Prodrive which features a new five-speed 'dog-box' and Ohlins suspension. Both were introduced for 2001 under the new regulations, dramatically improving the performance of the Impreza.

"We have been campaigning with Group N Imprezas for five years," said Paul Barrett, managing director of Barretts Motorsport. "When we first tested the 2001 car back in January, we immediately knew it was something special. The new dog box has turned it into a car which is now more than a match for the Mitsubishi Lancers."

The rally of Great Britain was the first time that Higgins had driven the Impreza on gravel. Being unseeded, he was unable to run at shakedown and only managed to get a half day of set-up time prior to the event. Despite this, he quickly adapted to the conditions and drove a near faultless rally.

"In the whole three days we only had to change brake discs and pads twice as well as making a precautionary oil change. The gearbox was still in mint condition and I am confident the car could have easily have done the same distance again with no problems at all," said Barrett.

Just four 2001 specification Group N Imprezas still remain as Prodrive continues its development of the new shape car which will be available from February 2002.