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Top Irish rally driver Derek McGarrity says that he expects the Prodrive Subarus of  Petter Solberg and Chris Atkinson to be on the start line for Rally Ireland, despite Subaru's withdrawal from the WRC on Tuesday.

McGarrity has been closely associated with Prodrive for almost 10 years,  competing in their vehicles with much success.

In an interview in the Belfast Telegraph, McGarrity said:

“I fully expect Prodrive to go ahead and run the cars even without the official backing of Subaru. This decision came out of blue and the management at Prodrive had very little time to prepare for it or react to it.

“But I know they are now looking at all the options and that includes going ahead with their World championship programme as a non-manufacturer team. Their entry fees for the year are already paid and the accommodation for the team for Rally Ireland is booked,” he said.

“They have already been testing for next season and developing the latest Impreza, the S15. From what I've heard, I'm fairly confident they will go ahead.

“One of the problems Prodrive have had is that Subaru Technica International in Japan have refused to allow the cars to run with sponsorship. Ever since the famous 555 sponsorship ended, they have insisted on the cars appearing just in their own blue and gold colours.

Prodrive will now be free to look for outside financial support, just as Ford and Citroen have done,” he added.

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