Solberg takes fourth in season finale
- 8th December 2008, 8:28am
Though shorter, the day was no less tricky and really favoured the brave and the battle at the front reached fever pitch. At minus five degrees Celsius, it also boasted the coldest temperatures seen during the rally. Fortunately none of the stages were interrupted or shortened by the prevalence of ice on the roads. Grip was as unpredictable as ever as ice took hold of every stage and cars skittered and scrabbled to find any grip as they swung between heavy braking and hard acceleration.
â€œPetter and Phil drove well this weekend and we saw them deliver some very encouraging stage times in incredibly tricky conditionsâ€ said David Richards, Subaru World Rally Team Principal. â€œIt is a shame to have just missed out on a podium at home, but nevertheless it marks the end of a year in which we have seen the performance of our new car consistently improving and there are yet more positives we can take from this weekend into the winter break as we continue our preparations for next season.â€
The traditionally season-ending Welsh finale brings the curtain down again on a long and tough season for SWRT halfway through which came of course the launch of Subaruâ€™s first totally new World Rally Car in eight years.
Petter and Phil rounded off the year with an encouraging note. â€œWe have had some good stages and done a lot of very positive split times so itâ€™s been quite a good weekend and Iâ€™m pretty happyâ€ said Petter Solberg. â€œI tried hard but this morning was full ice so we were on the limit definitely. We just had to settle for fourth though as we just didnâ€™t have the grip to push on the ice. I tried some small adjustment on the dampers before service but it was worse so I had to go back again for the afternoon.
â€œWe knew yesterday that if there was ice this morning, we would not have a chance, but if it was normal gravel or mud, it would have been ok because thatâ€™s where we have improved the car since Japan. On the fast sections Iâ€™m as fast as everyone else, just not on the ice. But we are definitely moving right. There are still a few things to sort out, but now the team have some time until next season so Iâ€™m sure weâ€™ll return strong and able to really fight.â€
There is not much of a Christmas rest for the team. With only a short drive north to the teamâ€™s headquarters in the town of Banbury, UK, the team and cars will return this evening and get straight back into preparations for the 2009 WRC season which kicks off in Ireland on 30 January.
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