Period of Test: 24-30 April 2003 Location: Spain Surface: Gravel Purpose: General development test Weather: 11-26Â°C, mostly sunny and warm Drivers: Tommi MÃ¤kinen, Petter Solberg In the latest step of the 555 Subaru World Rally Team's ...
Period of Test: 24-30 April 2003
Purpose: General development test
Weather: 11-26°C, mostly sunny and warm
Drivers: Tommi Mäkinen, Petter Solberg
In the latest step of the 555 Subaru World Rally Team's development programme, the test team travelled to Spain last week to carry out a six-day test on gravel. The test ran from 24-30 April and was based firstly in the Cardona area before moving to Andorra.
For the first two days, 555 SWRT driver Tommi Mäkinen took the wheel of the Subaru Impreza WRC2003 test car and completed 280 kilometres of loose surface testing. Tommi used two separate roads on his test - one 2.4km smooth gravel road and the other a 4.2km wider stage featuring various twists, jumps and a hairpin. Both stages featured a sandy base, perfect for preparing for the forthcoming gravel events Argentina, Greece and Cyprus.
Norway's Petter Solberg took over driving duties for the final four days of the test (26-27 and 29-30 April) and, like Tommi, put test driver Pasi Hagstrom in the co-driving seat to assist with the development work. Petter covered 618 kilometres using four separate roads on terrain similar to those used by Tommi, although one of the Andorran stages featured eight hairpin bends and a harder bedrock base.
During the test, work was concentrated on endurance evaluation and the set-up of a new suspension system, which will be introduced on the Argentina Rally. Work was also done on further refinements to the 2003 specification Subaru engine and transmission systems as well as evaluating brake set-ups for gravel rallies. In addition, Tommi used the opportunity to test some of Pirelli's new gravel tyre constructions.
Tommi Mäkinen: "The test was good for me. The main aim was to test the new damper system and it worked out very well. We refined some other little things and the response was very positive and the car felt good. It was a chance to try the new car on the kind of terrain we are expecting on the next few events and I have to say I am feeling very good about the car."
Petter Solberg: "The surface we tested on was very close to what I am expecting in Argentina and we managed to complete quite a few kilometres so I feel very well prepared. I concentrated on testing some new dampers, which were very good - we are going to use them in Argentina which I am looking forward to - it should mean another positive step forward for the team."