Subaru expects asphalt advance

Subaru team boss David Lapworth believes the Impreza WRC will be able to fight at the front at this weekend's Rallye de France despite rivals Citroen and Peugeot traditionally dominating the asphalt events

Subaru expects asphalt advance

According to Lapworth, the 2004-spec Impreza has made huge steps forward on the sealed surfaces and hopes to prove this as the case in Corsica this weekend.

"We're expecting the new car to work well on tarmac," Lapworth said. "A lot of the work that we've done on the car has an even bigger effect on asphalt than it does on gravel and, as we've shown the step forward the car has made on loose surface events, we're hoping it will be an even bigger step on asphalt.

"We've completed three days of asphalt testing this week, so there have been further evolutions made to the set-up. Pirelli has also been working hard on the tyres, and we've made some good progress. However, we won't really know where we are until we see the times from the first stage. The benchmark is moving forward all the time and we don't know what Michelin and the other teams have been doing."

Defending champion Petter Solberg certainly hopes his boss is right. The Norwegian currently lies second in the championship and must win this weekend's rally if he is to stand any chance of defeating title favourite Sebastien Loeb (Citroen). The Frenchman is 26 points ahead of Solberg and needs only five points from the remaining three rallies to clinch the title.

Solberg has the psychological advantage, though, having won the last three rallies. He also won the Corsica event last year, courtesy of the rough weather.

"It has been really good fun to win the last three rallies," Solberg said. "I've had such a good feeling in the car and everything came together really, really well. There's a big difference between asphalt and gravel. I do like the asphalt events, but it's a different type of challenge.

"Last year, Corsica was amazing and it was fantastic to win. I think we were helped a little by the weather and some good tyre choices, but to make such a comeback was great - the team worked so hard that weekend. Looking to this year, we'll see what we can do. We're just going to try and get the best result we can."

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