Subaru driver Petter Solberg claimed victory on Rally Japan today [Sunday] to take his third WRC win of the year and the eighth of his career.

Dominating the event from the outset, the Norwegian and his co-driver Phil Mills, won by a margin of 1 minute 13.3 seconds to become the only crew to lead a WRC event from start to finish this year.

"It's an incredible feeling let me tell you! I'm so happy to have won here; It's such a special event for Subaru that to come here and win in Japan on the first attempt is almost like a dream come true," said 'Hollywood'.

"It couldn't be better! There are so many people I have to thank, at the team in the UK, at Subaru in Japan, and at Pirelli too, they all share this success and I'm so grateful. And to the spectators who came to watch us out in the stages, I hope you had a good time watching us, it's been a fantastic rally and I hope we can win it again next year!"

Claiming a maximum ten points in both the Drivers' and Manufacturers' Championships, Solberg now moves to second in the overall Drivers' standings.

Subaru's young driver, Mikko Hirvonen meanwhile put in another solid performance and despite encountering a gear selection problem brought his Impreza home in seventh place to collect two Championship points.

"Well I felt there were two good things about this rally - my performance on Saturday, and this morning when I managed to get the car fixed and going again! I've learned a lot about this event though, and things are still improving, but I need to find a way of building my confidence and trust earlier, so I can start putting in good times on Leg one, rather than later on," commented Hirvonen.

"Apart from the gear selector problem, the car ran perfectly all weekend and the team did a great job. I also want to thank the supporters who turned out to welcome us, it's been a good experience and I'm looking forward to coming back next year."

Competing in a WRC event for the first time on home ground, Subaru scored its 42nd WRC win and the 41st with the Impreza.

Team boss David Lapworth was almost lost for words...

"I've almost run out of superlatives," he concluded. "The way Petter has driven this rally and the way he's come back from not only some big disappointments, but also a major accident, has been just incredible. I can't think of many other drivers that would be able to react to a run of bad luck in such a positive way. If anyone needed proof of his ability to become a multiple world champion, then this weekend has been just that.

"Mikko has delivered a good, solid job. He started sensibly, built the speed and was rewarded with some good stage times. It's a shame that he had the gear selection problem today, but he coped with the situation in a very professional manner.

"From the team's point of view, it's been a fantastic result after a huge amount of effort. Everyone in the team has worked so hard, that victory is the least the guys deserve. Pirelli too have done a great job and there's no question that in these conditions they gave us the edge."


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