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Thursday, June 20, 2024

WRC groups would welcome a Subaru return

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FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem revealed finally weekend’s Acropolis Rally that the three-time WRC constructors’ winner (1995-1997) is considering a possible return to the championship.

Subaru has a wealthy historical past within the WRC, working Colin McRae (1995), Richard Burns (2001) and Petter Solberg (2003) to world driver’s titles earlier than exiting on the finish of 2008 as a result of world monetary disaster.

Ben Sulayem’s feedback emerged from a gathering he had with Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda, who’s actively attempting to encourage extra producers to hitch the WRC.

The FIA president recommended {that a} doable Subaru return might be aided by Toyota, which owns a stake in Subaru and will assist present an engine to satisfy the championship laws, ought to the producer want to return.

It will appear that if a undertaking was to obtain a inexperienced gentle from Subaru’s board, coinciding with the WRC’s new laws in 2027 would appear the most certainly alternative to rejoin the championship.

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In response to Ben Sulayem’s feedback, Toyota has issued the next assertion to Autosport emphasising that any dedication to the WRC will likely be determined by Subaru’s board.

It mentioned: “From the staff’s aspect, we will verify that our chairman Akio Toyoda and president Ben Sulayem have spoken at size in the course of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, by which the subject was additionally raised of increasing the sphere of producers in WRC.

“It isn’t a secret that our chairman, together with his profound ardour for rallying, is keen to see extra producers getting into the WRC.

Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda has been concerned in talks with FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem

Photograph by: Toyota Racing

“If Subaru had been to return to the WRC it could deliver again an iconic rallying model for the championship’s trendy period, and for us, to be joined by a fellow Japanese producer would make the competitors extra thrilling and stronger.

“Nonetheless, any such resolution is for the Subaru board and president to make, naturally in dialogue with related stakeholders.”

Toyota’s WRC rivals Hyundai and M-Sport have declared they might welcome Subaru again to the championship.

“I feel it’s good, extra entrants for the long run is Positive information,” Hyundai staff principal Cyril Abiteboul informed Autosport. “It’s too early to speak in regards to the politics.

“We have to perceive the arrange a bit extra, however past Subaru we additionally must also search for OEMs that haven’t any explicit reference to these present OEMs already within the sport to hitch.

“We’re already watching Skoda and Citroen in Rally2 and we wish to see them make the step to Rally1.

“After all we’d welcome Subaru, we ought to be open for enterprise and extra producers. Our focus ought to be on including extra individuals to the game beginning with Subaru.”

M-Sport-Ford managing director Malcolm Wilson added: “Any extra entries that will likely be key and with Subaru, we’d positively welcome them with open arms.

Subaru has been absent from the WRC since 2008

Subaru has been absent from the WRC since 2008

Photograph by: Sutton Photos

“We’d like extra WRC Rally1 automobiles and we’d like extra prospects. I feel essentially the most Rally1 automobiles we’ve got run is 12 on one rally, so we’d like to get again to that.”

The WRC is at present pushing to draw extra producers to the championship, with Toyota and Hyundai the one full works entries. Ford is represented by long-time associate M-Sport.

This push is together with the FIA, which has been consulting with marques to help with the formulation of the WRC’s 2027 technical laws.

When requested about Ben Sulayem’s feedback about Subaru, WRC Promoter’s senior sporting director, Peter Thul, mentioned: “It will be implausible [if Subaru came back], however we’ve got no additional touch upon that.

“We requested the FIA president, with the contacts he has, to assist us when doable. There are different ones [manufacturers] that I wish to get some presidential assist, however please perceive that we’ll not point out the businesses.

“Within the meantime we’re working inside our channel, nevertheless it makes an enormous distinction when Peter Thul goes to producer or when the president of the FIA does so. We’re completely happy for any assist we will get.”



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