Solid points for SWRT after uncharacteristic Swedish Rally
The Subaru World Rally Team entry of Petter Solberg and Phil Mills finished the Swedish Rally in fourth overall after the final day of gravel-strewn forest roads. Chris Atkinson and Stephane Prevot continued to climb the rankings to collect an all-important Manufacturers' championship point.
With both Impreza WRC2007s scoring points this weekend, the Subaru World Rally Team remains tied for second place in the overall Manufacturers' Championship standings. Solberg is tied for fourth in the Drivers' Championship, whilst Atkinson is just behind in sixth position after his haul of points on Rallye Monte Carlo.
"It's been rather a strange Swedish Rally given the lack of snow but all things considered we're able to come away with more Manufacturer points" said Team Principal David Richards. "We look forward to testing this week which will hopefully bring advantages in Mexico at the end of the month. Rally Mexico will bring a totally different set of challenges which have always suited Subaru in the past."
The final day of the Swedish Rally brought the same conditions, albeit the temperature was slightly colder, and the routes were run on gravel from the very first speed test this morning. It was left badly rutted and muddy after the morning's pass, and, as we saw yesterday, the second running in the afternoon was cancelled.
"We just drove today to finish the event and collect some more points, for us and the team. There was nothing special today and I'm pleased with fourth" said Petter Solberg. "Everyone at the front backed off today I think and we weren't fighting for position so we didn't take any risks. The stages were bad again today, and we pretty much ran them all on gravel. I felt the balance of the car in these conditions was better this morning than yesterday, but we had no reason to push today."
Atkinson and Prevot continued their steady run since losing time on Friday to climb to 21st place overall, having gained 24 positions since the close of Friday's stages. Finishing the final day's five stages with some top four stage times, the Australian was left pleased with his progress but ruing Friday's mistake.
"We really weren't pushing today as we didn't need to take any risks" said Chris Atkinson. "I'm disappointed we went off on Friday, but we've come back up through the field and still gained a Manufacturer point. The stages today were the same as yesterday, and we saw those at the front back off so there were no real fights for position. It's been a difficult rally for us, but we take the point and now look to Mexico which will be a totally different event."
In two weeks crews will travel to Mexico for the first proper gravel rally of the season and the first long-haul event of the year, 29 February -- 2 March. Corona Rally Mexico will open with a ceremonial start in Guanajuato City, a UNESCO World Heritage site, on Thursday 28 February. The flowing gravel roads will take crews up to an altitude of 2700m through the mountains of the Sierra de Lobos and Sierra de Guanajuato, just outside the bustling city of Leon. There is also a Superspecial spectator stage that will be run three times within the Leon racetrack, and there will be no remote services on this event.