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Subaru is confident that its new Impreza WRC2005 will be a 'significant' step forward over its successful 2004 model - after publicly unveiling the new machine on Monday.

Even though the WRC2004 helped Petter Solberg grab its sixth WRC victory on its final event in Sweden two weeks ago, the team has stuck to its plans of introducing the new car on the next round of the series in Mexico.

Subaru boss David Lapworth said: "The wider track makes a significant improvement to the handling of the car, especially on tarmac. It's all about weight transfer. The track width and the centre of gravity are inter-related. In this case, making the car wider has the same effect as making it lower, which is very beneficial.

"We're keenly anticipating the car's debut in Mexico. The future will be bright for the Impreza WRC2005.”

The 2005 model features a wider track, revised styling, composite body panels and a host of engine and suspension enhancements. The design team behind the car was also boosted by more involvement than ever before from Japanese stylists - which is most notable with the more aggressive looking front and rear wheel arches.

Solberg, who conducted development work with the WRC2005 in Sardinia recently, believes that the differences between the old and new car are very obvious from inside the cockpit.

"Behind the wheel you quickly get the feeling that it's a much better overall package than the previous model,"he said. "There are lots of small improvements, but I was especially impressed with the chassis development work.

"The car feels much better balanced and has more traction, factors which should be especially noticeable in Mexico. The engineers have made more progress with the engine too, which has better torque and throttle response. Without doubt, this car has more to deliver over the coming year, but I'm very happy with what we already have and am looking forward to taking it out in Mexico."

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