Subaru: Rally Japan, 26–28 October 2007
78 of the original 85 crews restarted this morning.

The shortest of the rally, leg three totalled 97.33 competitive kilometres over seven stages. The liaison distance was such that there were again four remote refuels as the crews covered two loops of three stages to the north west of Obihiro. The rally finale was a fifth pass of the Obihiro Superspecial.

Sunday brought bright sunshine to the Kita Aikoku service park, with temperatures starting at four degrees Celsius and rising to a midday high of 11.

No WRC retirements

Subaru World Rally Team summary
After the final day of competition of Rally Japan, the two remaining Subaru World Rally Team cars of Petter Solberg / Phil Mills and Xevi Pons / Xevi Amigo finished 17th and 36th respectively. Over the final 97km, both crews put on a good show in front of Subaru’s home crowd, and made the best of the opportunity to test in conditions similar to those expected on next month’s Wales Rally GB.

Petter showed determination to perform for his fans, and recorded three top–four stage times. Dropping to 65th place after his retirement on Friday’s leg, Solberg and co–driver Phil Mills pushed hard today and made further progress up the table, finishing 17th overall and claiming two manufacturer points for Subaru.

For Xevi, who was contesting his first ever Rally Japan, gaining experience on the tricky gravel surface was vital. The Spaniard made a good start, but had a spin early on into SS12 and lost his car’s rear wing while manoeuvring back onto the stage. This meant that he had to drive more cautiously for the remainder of the morning’s loop, especially in the high speed sections, until he was able to return to service. He then completed the afternoon’s loop with no problems to come home in 36th overall.

Richard Taylor, Subaru World Rally Team managing director:
"It has been a very difficult rally and the results have been disappointing for Subaru and our supporters. The five fastest stage times achieved by Petter and Xevi provide slight consolation, but we have not achieved our objectives here in Japan. The whole team must now push even harder to improve our performance for the last two events of the season."

Petter Solberg:
"We did our best, but this is certainly not the result we came here for. Today I did all I could, but we’re still lacking the grip to go any faster. There’s not much more I can say really. We have a lot of work to do before Rally GB."

Xevi Pons:
"Okay, this weekend was not easy. It was my first time here in Japan, and it’s a difficult rally, but we’ve had quite a lot of problems too. For today the car felt okay, but we have struggled with the handling balance for much of the weekend, sometimes understeer, sometimes oversteer. Today we’ve tested a bit for Rally GB, but the feeling isn’t quite there yet."

Next Event
Rally Ireland, the next event of the 2007 WRC calendar, is a new addition to the Championship, and the fifth asphalt rally of the year. The sealed surface is unusually bumpy, quite unlike any other asphalt event, and is very demanding of cars, tyres and drivers alike. Running from 16 Ė 18 November, and based in Sligo city, the rally commences with a Superspecial Stage at the Parliament buildings in Belfast and takes in stages throughout the north–west of the island.

Final Leaderboard
1. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen 3h23m57.6sec
2. D Sordo/M Marti +37.4sec
3. H Solberg/C Menkerud +4m33.7sec
4. M Wilson/M Orr +6m37.9sec
5. L P Companc/J M Volta +6m40.4sec
6. M Stohl/I Minor +7m04.3sec
7. F Villagra/J Diaz +11m15.3sec
8. K Taguchi/M Stacey +20m40.1sec
9. G Pozzo/D Stillo +21m53.0sec
10. A Araujo/M Ramalho +24m13.5sec
17 P Solberg/P Mills +26:28.2
36 P Pons/X Amigo +54:11.6

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