Defending champs MotorImage have made an about-face for this weekends Rally Whangarei, deciding to stick with their proven 2007-spec Subaru Impreza WRXs in preference to the all-new 2008-model.
Although the team was determined at the start of the year to debut the new N14 Impreza in New Zealand (see ‘Inside MotorImage‘), team boss Philip Rodgers revealed today Cody Crocker and Rifat Sungkar will contest Rally Whangarei in the same cars they used in Canberra last month.
World-wide, most Subaru teams using the new car have struggled to come up with a competitive package in the short period since it was released, with changes to N14’s rear suspension said to be the common woe. At last weekends P-WRC event in Greece, ex-APRC entrant Naren Kumar was the only driver of an N14 Impreza to complete the event, neither defending champ Toshi Arai nor series leader Jari Ketomaa making to the finish.
It’s also understood a lack of parts has hampered development of the MotorImage cars, and Crocker was make the point during Rally Canberra that the team wouldn’t rush the introduction of the new Impreza until it’s able to match the old car.
Although not confirmed by MotorImage, the most likely scenario is the N14s will now make their debut at next months Rally Hokkaido. And with cars due to be shipped to Japan immediately after Rally Whangarei, Possum Bourne Motorsport (who builds and maintains the MotorImage cars) has built an additional N14, allowing testing and development to continue in New Zealand during the weeks leading up to Rally Hokkaido.