Subaru's Impreza WRC concept carries broad hints about the shape of the flagship Impreza WRX STI, which is due next spring. It won’t be as low and is unlikely to carry the WRC concept’s double rear wing, but it will have fat arches and a more purposeful stance than lesser Imprezas.

For now, all Subaru will say is that the STI ‘will be visually more aggressive than the rest of the five-door Impreza range’. Which it needs to be…

frankfurt 1912Subaru brought WRC driver Petter Solberg to Frankfurt to talk about the new Impreza and Tribeca, and prospects for the new WRC car being shown for the first time in concept form. Clearly he believes Subaru's underlying philosophy is right. 'Subaru is a company that works together as a big, big family,' he said. 'That's the key. Passion is very important.' Solberg described Subaru’s enthusiastic approach as ‘very Italian’.

Though Prodrive has been working on the 2008 car since the summer, Solberg confirms that testing has not yet begun. 'It begins in October,' he told us. 'If the base car is good the rally car will be all the better. I have a good feeling about it.'

In a speech at Frankfurt Subaru exec Mat Negato pointed out the value of the WRC to Subaru. ‘The place to show symmetrical AWD, and test it, is the World Rally Championship,’ he said.

Meanwhile, what’s Solberg’s aim with the new car when it becomes Prodrive’s rally weapon sometime next year? 'To win, of course. We hope to get back to the top – quickly.'

Published in Total Impreza magazine 2007