CHRIS Atkinson is being let down by his car. After watching world-class rallying for 30 years and seeing several generations of world championship winners, it is obvious to me Atkinson has the skill and commitment for success.
But he is fighting a Subaru Impreza that is a clear class behind the Citroens and Fords beating him this year.
The Subaru has a fundamental handling problem. It is inconsistent and hard to drive.
Atkinson knows it and so does his team leader, Petter Solberg, but they are not allowed to talk about the car’s shortcomings. Corporate pride comes first.
The problem with the 2008 Impreza looks much the same as the one the previous model had: badly flawed dampers. That much was admitted, but only by Subaru WRC boss David Richards.
He says the suspension problems have been solved for the ’08 car, but watching Atkinson battling through the New Zealand forests last weekend, it was hard to believe him.