The 555 Subaru World Rally Team announced today that Petter Solberg has signed a contract which will see him and co-driver Phil Mills stay with the team until the end of the 2006 FIA World Rally Championship season.

"Obviously the first priority for us has to be to sign a driver who can win rallies and championships, and having worked with Petter for the last three years we're perhaps in the best position to make that judgement about his talent," commented Team Principal, David Lapworth.

"But almost as important, and this is backed up by the reputation of other great drivers in history," added Lapworth, "is the way the driver interacts with the people in the team and the way he helps motivate them as well as providing technical input. Petter has proven to be as much a team player as he is a fast driver. We're very happy to have him on board for the future."

The 28-year-old Norwegian joined Subaru during the 2000 Championship, and quickly established a reputation as one of the most talented and charismatic stars of the sport. Solberg and Mills took their debut WRC win on last year's Rally GB, and the speed and potential shown on recent events has made the pairing one of the most sought-after in the series.

The announcement of a further three-year contract between Solberg and Subaru secures the continuation of one of the most exciting partnerships in the WRC and demonstrates the long-term commitment that both parties have to win at the highest level of rally competition.

"The overall performance of the Impreza and knowing it can win was a very big part of my choice," added 'Hollywood', "The Subaru is simply a great car and I've got a lot of confidence in it over the last three years. Then I looked at other things, I know how other teams have worked and it's always the key people that make the difference.

"One of the most important factors from me is the management and the people that work in the team. My thinking is that while anything mechanical can be repaired or improved, the people cannot be changed - that's why it's so important to get it right. I am lucky to work with such a good group of people, from the management team of David Lapworth, Paul Howarth, my technicians, Steve Farrell's engineering team and my engineer Pierre Genon - I talk to him every day about everything and he's a good friend.

"Maybe I could have switched teams, and perhaps got into another car that could win straight away, but there would be no feeling or passion about that. When we start winning at Subaru, I will have worked hard and there will be a feeling of achievement and that's what I really want."