Subaru test driver Markko Martin has said that the new Impreza WRC2008 should be very competitive on the asphalt events in Germany, Spain and France in the second half of the season.

Martin conducted the first tarmac test with the Impreza WRC2008 recently in the hills of Italy and the Estonian added that he had a 'very successful' outing in the car, which only made its debut in the World Rally Championship on the Acropolis Rally of Greece last month.

"It was good, the initial feeling is really very good," Martin told the team's official website, "We worked on improving the performance during the week and learned a lot about how the car works and how it responds to changes which was good.

"I think it was a very good test and I'm feeling confident about the car's asphalt performance. The car has a good balance and feels positive to drive. We didn't have any major issues during the test, and we managed to work on a few areas of setup. It's only the first time out in these conditions so there's more we can do, but I think the car will be competitive on asphalt.

"We learned that the car fundamentally works well on this surface and responds well to set-up changes. I think there are just a few small areas of fine-tuning, a few little things that we need to do, but it will be very good.

"Okay, Rallye Deutschland is a slightly special event, but the focus is now handing over to Petter [Solberg] and Chris [Atkinson] for the pre-event test. We were testing in the hills of Italy which gives slightly different conditions, but you can only test specifically for Rallye Deutschland in Germany.

"Mountain roads have a flow and a lot of long corners, whereas Germany has a lot of straights and junctions, but the high-speed stability and balance is there in the car so I think it will translate well.

"I prefer driving on asphalt rather than gravel, so for me it was also a fun test. There's no dust on tarmac, which is good! It can be a struggle when it rains though, but when it's nice weather it's really good fun. It was a successful test, so I really, really enjoyed it."