Times must be tough if the auto maker who made it’s name competing in the World Rally Championship is dropping out. Sure, participating in the WRC is expensive, but it’s crucial for two things; R&D and marketing. Subaru’s philosophy has always been to make safe, reliable cars that were fun to drive. They incorporated lessons learned from the WRC into every vehicle they made. Improvements to the engines, braking, handling, chassis structure and more were all derived from their Rally heritage.
It was probably tough for Subaru to bite the bullet on this, but maybe it makes immediate financial sense and will play into a longer-term strategy toward fuel efficiency, something Rally isn’t exactly known for. As governement regulations get tighter across the board, Auto manufacturers can get pushed into a corner. I never would have thought Suburu would drop their WRC team, but maybe it’s their only option for long term survival.
Goodbye SWRT and good luck to both Atkinson and Petter, two of my favorite WRC drivers. Hit the jump to read the full press release.
Posted in Auto Manufacturers, News Worthy, Racing, Rally
Tagged Impreza, Racing, Rally, Subaru, Subaru Leaves the WRC, SWRT, World Rally Championship, WRC
This has been an amazing year for the World Rally Championship. Mikko Hirvonen has the lead on Sebastien Loeb, but only by three points. These two have dominated the 2008 WRC, with 59 and 56 points respectively. Third place is currently held by Jari-Matti Latvala with only 34 points. Petter Solberg holds 6th place with 20 points, but he is the real wild card here. Over the last few years, he’s been riddled with car problems, time penalties, and general bad luck…. but his luck could change quickly with the arrival of his new car. The first time Solberg drove his new whip, he finished 2nd place at Rally Acropolis.
Rallying in the WRC since 1998, Petter has 13 wins under his belt and is the 2003 FIA WRC Drivers World Champion. He also came runner-up in ’04 and ’05, which should tell you that he truly is a world-class driver. You’ll be hard pressed to find rally on TV in the US, so check back next week for the results of Rally Finland.
This is really BIG news in the racing world for Subaru, one of the biggest names in the World Rally Championship. Why is this such good news? Subaru has had a rough run in the WRC over the last two years…Petter Solberg, their lead driver, has had tons of car problems, bad luck on the race courses, and even trouble from the WRC Officials. Petter is regarded as one of the best drivers in the world but in the last season he couldn’t finish in the top three to save his life. But Subaru knows they have one of the best drivers, so they just produced a better car for him to drive. The new Subaru WRC car is a hatchback, the ideal body style for drifting in mud, dirt, snow, and tarmac. The 2.0 liter 4-cylinder boxer engine produces 300 horsepower, per WRC regulations, but also manages to crank out 480 ft. lbs. of torque! This new monster is just what Petter needed to get back on top, shown by him finishing 2nd place overall driving a new car in the toughest rally of the WRC. The Acropolis Rally is in Greece, characterized by loose dirt and big rocks. This means there is little grip on the track and even littler room for error. Yet Solberg was able to keep it together and finish second, although Sebastian Loeb still reigns supreme in his Citroen.
Next up is Rally Turkey and I look forward to seeing Petter on the podium with another trophy in his hands. For those who are interested, make sure to check out the pics of the new Subie below.