Subaru's mystery brake issues

The Subaru World Rally Team's chances of a strong finish on the Monte Carlo Rally, the opening round of the World Rally Championship, are fading away due to a mystery brake problem that is affecting both Petter Solberg and Stephane Sarrazin's Impreza WRCs

Subaru's mystery brake issues

Solberg's problem is so bad that he went off the road on the opening stage, Ilonse-Pierlas, and narrowly avoided crashing out of the event. The former world champion was then forced to complete the last 1.5km of the stage with a soft brake pedal. Initially thought to be overheating brakes, Subaru attempted to fix the problem at the SS2 service, but in SS3 the Solberg encountered the problem again halfway through the 32km run.

"It all started extremely well," said Solberg. "It was working perfectly, but we had a problem 1.5km from the end of the stage, at the end of a long straight. I had no brake power. I pushed the pedal as hard as I could, but went off the road and had quite a bad impact. It was quite scary because the spectators just got out of the way in time.

"We were able to get going again and I finished the stage. Once the brakes had cooled down, they worked again - they weren't 100 per cent, but they were okay."

Subaru has changed all the discs and callipers on both cars as well as trimming the lower lip of the front splitter to get more air under the cars in an attempt to find a solution to the problem. But the team has been limited to the modifications it can make because of 'on-event' regulations stipulated by the FIA.

"It's a bit of a mystery at the moment," said team boss David Lapworth. "There will be a logical explanation and we are working on it. To lose the brakes after a twisty section for the last 1.5k of a stage is quite normal, but not with 15km still to go."

New signing Sarrazin, a former Formula 1 driver, has reported exactly the same problem but despite this was actually quicker than Solberg through SS3.

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