Martin to feel the squeeze at Subaru

Estonian up-and-comer Markko Martin could find his 2001 programme squeezed to just nine world rallies as Subaru attempts to recover from its poor start to the season

Martin to feel the squeeze at Subaru

The 25-year-old, who has already been dropped from the Prodrive-run team's Rally Argentina line-up this weekend, will also miss Cyprus and the Safari, with two more events set to be wiped from his programme.

Subaru is re-grouping its resources to get its Impreza back on the ultimate pace and is therefore cutting back on its ambitious plans to enter four cars on a regular basis. The team is currently only fifth in the manufacturers' standings, with Richard Burns its top entry in the drivers' standings - a distant 10th after four events.

Team-leader Burns and young gun Petter Solberg are both scheduled to run all 14 rounds, but with the Japanese marque keen to run Toshio Arai on as many events as possible, Martin draws the short straw.

However, Prodrive rally boss David Lapworth has stressed that the move is not down to any loss of faith in Martin.

"In terms of his career development Safari, Cyprus and Argentina were never high on the list," he told Motorsport News. "Maybe the emphasis has changed. From the beginning, we always said our ambition was to give him a full programme, but we've just got to be realistic about our resources.

"If we were walking the championship it would be easier to justify, but we're not."

Martin is expected to play a full role in testing and may also contest a number of non-WRC events, including the USA and in his native Estonia.

"He's done a bloody good job for us and we're very happy with him," said Lapworth.

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