Subaru enter 3 cars for Rally New Zealand
- 25th July 2007, 9:17am
The Subaru World Rally Team are the first of the glamour teams to enter next month's Rally New Zealand.
Subaru will enter three cars in Rally New Zealand, Round 11 of the FIA World Rally Championship, which will be based in Hamilton, heading to the King Country, Waikato and Franklin districts from 30 August until 2 September.
They will be led by former world champion Petter Solberg, Australian Chris Atkinson and Spaniard Xavier Pons, who joins the Subaru team for the second half of the season.
Solberg is currently the best of the team in fifth place on 28 points with his best a second placing in Portugal and third in the last round in Greece before the summer break. However three did not finish results from the eight events have thwarted his championship hopes.
Atkinson is seventh on 15 points with his best being fourth in the opener at Monte Carlo, while he too has failed to finish in three rounds.
"It's great to have confirmation from the Subaru Rally Team and also fantastic that they are sending three cars to New Zealand," said Paul mallard, general manager of Rally New Zealand.
"Petter Solberg is one of the most popular drivers in the championship and he has plenty of fans in New Zealand. He loves our roads and there's been significant improvement in the Subaru team in the last two rallies.
"I am sure he will prove formidable on the New Zealand roads."
Mr Mallard said he expected confirmation from the two leading teams BP Ford and Citroen in the next 24 hours with entry closing approaching.
The ninth round of the FIA World Rally Championship is set for next weekend in Finland with Ford's Marcus Gronholm holding a nine point advantage over defending champion Sebastien Loeb (Citroen).
The teams start the second half of the season at Finland in two weeks ahead of round 10 in Germany on 17-19 August before heading to New Zealand.
The Rally New Zealand shakedown test takes place at Mystery Creek on Thursday 30 August ahead of the Ceremonial Start in Hood Street Hamilton City that evening.
The rally proper begins on Friday 31 August in the Otorohanga and Waitomo region, day two is in the Franklin District and northern Waikato and final day in Raglan, with super special stages each day back at the rally headquarters and service park at Mystery Creek.
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