Subaru: Wales Rally GB, 29 November – 2 December 2007
98 of the original 108 crews left the service park to start the final day.

The final day’s two stages were the longest of the event; Brechfa at 28.89km and Trawscoed at 28.24km. Both winding gravel routes ran through the heavily wooded Brechfa forest, and were the muddiest of the rally. The crews completed the event with a finish ceremony in Cardiff.

The day started with heavy rain and high winds, which continued into the afternoon. The temperature ranged from eight to 12 degrees Celsius.

Perez Companc (Ford)

Subaru World Rally Team summary
The Subaru World Rally Team ended a consistent weekend with the Impreza of Petter Solberg and Phil Mills finishing in fourth place on the Welsh co–driver’s home event. Team–mates Chris Atkinson / Stephane Prevot and Xevi Pons / Xavier Amigo both finished inside the top ten.

The final day of Wales Rally GB and also of the 2007 WRC season was the toughest of the rally, and amongst the most treacherous of the year. The heaviest rain of the weekend soaked the stages, turning the routes into deep muddy tracks. Coupled with the foreboding skies, the conditions demanded absolute focus from the crews just to stay on the road.

Petter Solberg had a solid opening stage, before suffering some handling difficulties on the second after running over a rock in the middle of the road. After losing time to Sordo (Citroen) just behind in fifth, he started the afternoon third fastest to ensure he stayed ahead. He and Phil Mills finish the 2007 FIA World Rally Championship fifth overall.

Atkinson struggled in the morning loop, dropping almost 23 seconds to slip behind rally–long rival Wilson (Ford) into seventh. Unhappy with the balance of his Impreza on the morning loop, his pace improved after a setup change during service. He and co–driver Stephane Prevot climbed one place in the championship standings to finish the season seventh overall in the drivers’ contest.

Xevi Pons completed the morning’s stages suffering from a fogged windscreen, but persevered with asolid drive to complete the first loop of the event’s toughest stages with reduced visibility. With a comfortable cushion over Ostberg (Subaru) from leg two, Pons and Xavier Amigo retained their position of ninth overall.

Team quotes
Richard Taylor, Subaru World Rally Team Managing Director:
"It’s good for the team to have retaken third place in the Manufacturers’ Championship this weekend, and to have finished with all three cars in the top ten. Overall it’s been a difficult year for the team but we are very positive that the development of our new car that will appear during 2008 will once again deliver the results that Subaru supporters and our drivers have come to expect."

Petter Solberg:
"We came here to do the best we could and the team have been working so hard to get back on top again. We thought we could do better here than we have, but we have to push forward for next year now. We have taken back third overall in the manufacturer championship which is so important, and I thank the team for all their effort this year. Now we have a small break before Monte Carlo, but we are doing lots of testing and I am looking forward to coming back strongly for some better results in the new season. It’s very important for Subaru that we are getting back on track. I really want to get back on top again too."

Chris Atkinson:
"Of the three times I’ve attempted Rally GB this has been the most frustrating. As a driver I can honestly say I’ve tried my best, but for a number of different reasons that hasn’t been enough to get decent stage times. We have experienced a variety of small issues but the main hurdle has been the inconsistent handling of the car. This morning we tried a set–up which worked well on Friday, but for some reason today it didn’t work at all. We have a lot of questions to answer in the off–season and a lot of testing planned to enable us to turn things around. We want to be fighting for wins again, for Subaru and the fans as well."

Xevi Pons:
"It was very muddy and more slippery than yesterday, and this afternoon was harder as there were more ruts. We had a small moment when we overshot a tight junction and hit a bank but fortunately the car wasn’t badly damaged and we were able to carry on. It has been a difficult weekend which is a shame as it is a rally I like and was hoping to go well on. Yes, we finished in the top ten but I am disappointed we couldn’t be higher."

Next Event
Wales Rally GB heralded the finale of the 2007 FIA World Rally Championship, so the next event will be Monte Carlo, which opens the 2008 season on 24 – 27 January. During the off–season the team has a busy testing schedule for both the current and future WRC

Final Leaderboard
1. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen 3h 22m 50.9sec
2. M Gronholm/T Rautiainen +15.2sec
3. S Loeb/D Elena +1m33.0sec
4. P Solberg/P Mills +2m57.3sec
5. D Sordo/M Marti +3m14.3sec
6. M Wilson/M Orr +7m32.9sec
7. C Atkinson/S Prevo +8m29.5sec
8. M Stohl/I Minor +8m54.6sec
9. X Pons/X Amigo +9m48.8sec
10. J M Latvala/M Anttila +10m42.4sec

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