New Subaru Manufacturer Team ‘70 - 80 per cent’ certain
The manager of the Norwegian-based Adapta World Rally Team, Morgan Andersson, says he is close to finalising a deal with Subaru to run a new two-car Manufacturer Team in 2009.
Andersson confirmed that negotiations with Subaru’s rally specialists, Prodrive, were at an advanced level and that a decision would be made by 1 September at the latest.
If all goes to plan, the Adapta World Rally Team will field two Impreza World Rally Cars in 2009 with technical support from the Subaru World Rally Team.
One of the cars will be driven by 20-year-old Norwegian rally star Mads Ostberg, while a number of Scandinavian drivers, including Henning Solberg, are being considered for the second.
A Manufacturer Team drive would be a significant boost to Ostberg’s personal objective of getting a seat with a factory team by 2010. This year the Norwegian youngster is defending his Norwegian Rally Championship title (he won every round in 2007) as well as contesting eight rounds of the 2008 WRC.
His best WRC result so far this year came in Sweden when he held sixth - ahead of Petter Solberg and Chris Atkinson - until he got a puncture on SS9 and eventually finished ninth. In the second half of this season Ostberg will contest the WRC rounds in Finland, Germany, Spain, Corsica and Wales.
Andersson said he would wait until the deal had been concluded before ‘going hard’ after a second driver, but he acknowledged that Henning Solberg was the ideal man for the job.
“Of course we have great names in Norway, like Henning Solberg but that would be like a dream for us,” said Andersson. “And that’s all it is right now, because he has a contract with Stobart at the moment, but he would be the ideal type of driver for us. We know that Henning is a good person, gives a lot from himself and is experienced. If he was to drive for us he would have first priority, which means he would be competing at the highest level all the time.”
Another Norwegian, Andreas Mikkelsen, the man currently just ahead of Ostberg in the 2008 Norwegian Championship, is also in contention for the seat. “We haven’t spoken to him yet but he’s also a possibility to look into,” said Andersson. “Andreas is a very talented driver and a good friend of Mads. Two youngsters working hard to try and make the best of a good situation could be interesting.”