The 555 Subaru World Rally Team recently completed a four-day tarmac test in Spain to try out a number of new components and settings on the Subaru Impreza WRC.

The testing focussed on assessing long-term performance projects, as well as evaluating the latest tyre compounds and constructions from team partners Pirelli.

After the slippery Alpine roads of Monte Carlo, and with the tarmac challenges of Corsica and Catalunya just around the corner, the test was also an opportunity for Tommi Makinen to get some experience of the Impreza WRC on dry tarmac.

For days one and two he was behind the wheel of the team's test car and drove a total of 408kms. Makinen experimented with various differential combinations, suspension dampers and the latest tyre developments from Pirelli.

Makinen said: "The test was very good, there were no big problems and we made a lot of progress with some of the more experimental components we tried. It was especially useful for me to get some more hours in the car, as I had no real experience of it, or the tyres, on a dry surface before. My first impression was that it was fast - very fast, and by the end of the second day we had made some little changes here and there and I was happy with the set-up and its handling behaviour."

For days three and four Petter Solberg took over the driving and put another 300kms of high-speed mileage on some of the team's latest ideas.

Solberg also evaluated several new evolutions of Pirelli's tarmac tyres and tried some of Tommi's preferred transmission settings.

Test Team Manager Tom Hunt concluded: "I think we're all very pleased with the results we've achieved here. This wasn't designed to be a pre-event test for Corsica or Catalunya, as we have two of those coming up, instead we wanted to see how our engineers' ideas would perform against the clock. Overall we've made some excellent progress, and have also arrived at a good base set-up for our pre-event tests."

Test Summary:

Period of Test: 5 - 8 February 2002 Location: Three test roads in the Girona area of Spain Surface: Tarmac Purpose: Tarmac development test Weather: Fine and sunny, roads damp in early morning but mainly dry for test. Temperatures: 5 - 18 ?C Driver(s): Tommi Makinen, Petter Solberg