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WRC - Subaru Extends Solberg's Contract

Banbury, UK – 6/21/2006


Despite a disastrous 2006 season so far, Subaru and Petter Solberg, winners of the 2003 World Rally Championship title, have decided to extend their relationship for another three years.

In a year in which only Ford has remained alongside Subaru as a 100% factory effort in the WRC, the Japanese manufacturer is having one of its worst campaigns in recent memory. Solberg currently lies sixth in the driver's standings, 53 points away from leader Sebastien Loeb.

"It is very important for Subaru to have another three seasons with Petter and we are very positive about our future prospects in the World Rally Championship," Subaru principal Toshi Azuma stated. "Petter developed his driving career with Subaru, in 2003 he became the WRC drivers' champion with us and now we want to give him the opportunity to develop further.

"He has also been closely involved in Subaru's road car development over the years. Because he understands what it takes to develop road cars, he performs his role perfectly. His enthusiasm and personality has a positive effect not only to the rally team but to Subaru supporters around the world."

The Norwegian reaffirmed his loyalty to the Prodrive-run operation,

"At Subaru I have a very good team of people behind me, that's everybody including the mechanics, engineers, management and those at Subaru in Japan," he said. "I had some problems in my career when I started at Subaru but the team supported me very much and since then we have always stood together, through good and bad things."

Subaru expects to announce Solberg's future teammates after the FIA World Council confirms the 2007 WRC calendar next month.
 

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Questions to Petter Solberg

Questions to Petter Solberg

Letter from SWRT
28 July 2006

Copyright © STI

Why have you chosen to stay at Subaru?
At Subaru I have a very good team of people behind me, that's everybody including the mechanics, engineers, management and those at Subaru in Japan. Okay, I had some problems in my career when I started at Subaru but the team supported me very much and since then we have always stood together, through good and bad things. But the most important thing about this career is winning. Now I know it's difficult at Subaru just now, but I know that Subaru has all the abilities and all the qualities and the best people to handle this situation. I am very, very confident that we will start winning again soon. I would not have signed if I felt the team wasn't ready to win very soon.


What about the current car, what sort of potential has it got?
It has much more to give. Already it's working much better and I have tested a lot of things that have shown improved speed but still there are some things missing. The engineers have found out some of the reasons, we have a good direction now and we will work together so that I am 100 per cent happy with it. Hopefully we can unlock more of its potential very soon.


How soon before we can see you winning rallies again?
It all depends on how quickly we can get the car truly competitive. As soon as that is done we will start winning again.


What do you think you can achieve between now and 2009?
I want to say some big words, I really want to say I'm going to win all the Championships but that would be stupid. What I can say is I have a lot of confidence in my ability as a driver. A lot depends on how quickly we can improve the performance of the car in general but I don't think it'll be too long. Once we're able to start pushing again then I think there will be some very, very good times ahead.
 
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