The Subaru World Rally Team achieved its aim of getting both Impreza WRCs into the top six at the end of the opening leg of Rallye Monte Carlo and the first day of the 2007 season. Mindful of the need to start the season with solid points...
The Subaru World Rally Team achieved its aim of getting both Impreza WRCs into the top six at the end of the opening leg of Rallye Monte Carlo and the first day of the 2007 season. Mindful of the need to start the season with solid points finishes, both drivers ensured they had error-free runs. Petter was fourth fastest through stage one, and Chris emulated that feat on stage two. That meant Petter Solberg held fifth overall, just ahead of Chris, and neither driver had any problems to report after the two stages.
SS1: 1916HRS ST JEAN EN ROYANS - COL DE LACHAU (28.5KM)
The opening stage was a real challenge, not least because it took place
in the dark. The route climbed past a ski resort (although there was no
snow to report) and included both wide, smooth roads and narrow, bumpy
sections. Petter and Phil completed the stage in 14m 22.7s, while Chris
and Glenn posted a time of 14m 34.8s. That placed them both firmly into
the top ten overall.
Fastest time: Seb Loeb (Citroen) 13m 58.7s
SS2: 2006HRS LA CIME DU MAS - COL DE GAUDISSART (17.88KM)
The night's second (and final) stage started with two big climbs over
the Col de Carri and Col de l'Echarasson. Although the early kilometres
of the test were based on a wide, flowing road, the route included a
section along an old forest track, which was dirtier and rougher than the
first part. Chris enjoyed this test better and was happy with his time of
9m 55.2s. Meanwhile Petter came through the stage in 10m 04.8s.
Fastest time: Loeb 9m 31.2s
Subaru World Rally Team Managing Director, Richard Taylor: "Both Petter and Chris have made a good, steady start to Rallye Monte Carlo. Each of them has set a top-four stage time. Their overall positions at the end of the leg are about what we would have expected for this event, so we're quite happy with where we are and now we're very much looking forward to the rest of the rally."
Petter Solberg: "Not a bad start to the rally at all. The first stage was particularly good for us, but on the second one we struggled a little in some of the dirtier sections, where it was extremely slippery and we were a bit down on traction. Overall I'm pretty happy though. We made no mistakes, the tyres worked well and we are in a good position ahead of the next three days of competition."
Chris Atkinson: "On the first stage I found it hard to get into a rhythm. It was the first time I've driven the 2006-specification Impreza WRC on asphalt, because last year I drove the 2005 car on the hard-surface events. But I really enjoyed the second stage and felt able to carry more speed into the corners. There's no problem with driving in the dark and I'm confident we can keep up the pace we showed on stage two."
Leg two of Rallye Monte Carlo is based to the south west of the service area at Valence. The day begins with a mammoth 46km stage, one of the longest used in the WRC. There are two identical loops of three stages, with a total competitive mileage of 150.62km. The leg is notable for the use of Remote Service Zones, which mean the cars will not have to return to the main service area as often. Remote Service Zones will be used more frequently on events during the 2007 season.