Subaru’s first serious campaign in rallying came in 1989, with the launch of Subaru Technica International and the collaboration with Prodrive, which led to the creation of the Group A Subaru Legacy RS rally car. The car had many design problems which took a long time to resolve, so much so that the car’s only win came on its last event. Prodrive’s experience told them that the way forward was a smaller, more agile car and began working on a Group A Impreza rally car which made its debut in the hands of Ari Vatanen on the 1993 1000 Lakes Rally, where it finished 2nd overall.
In 1997 the FIA introduced the World Rally Car regulations and so gave the teams much greater freedom in terms of design and materials. This led Prodrive to totally redesign the car, launching the WRC97, which featured modified camshafts, cylinder ports and combustion chambers resulting in increases in both power and torque and so the evolutions began.
The WRC98 replaced the 97 and saw the introduction of computer controlled active front, centre and rear differentials. Unsurprisingly mechanical failures were common, which prevented the team from challenging for the world title.
The WRC99 replaced the 98 and featured upgrades to the electronically controlled, hydraulically actuated semi-automatic transmission and drive by wire throttle.
The WRC2000 replaced the 99 which whilst looking identical, under the skin was in fact 80% brand new car with redesigned mechanicals and electronics.
The WRC2001 replaced the 2000 and was the first of the bug-eyed cars and whilst featuring revised aerodynamics, improved weight distribution and a lower centre of gravity, but the engine, suspension and drivetrain remained unchanged from the WRC2000.
The WRC2002 replaced the 2001 and whilst cosmetically the same, had improvements made to the drivetrain and steering column, as well as to the turbo-charger and exhaust manifold, which was changed from a 4–2–1 configuration to a 4–1 configuration.
Is chassis number 4, which was used by Petter Solberg on three events during 2002. Its debut came on the Acropolis Rally, where it finished 5th . Its next event was the Rallye Sanremo where it finished 3rd. Its final event was Rally Australia where again it finished 3rd.
The car then passed into private hands and was used extensively over the years on national and international events before being purchased by its current owner who with his extensive knowledge of the Prodrive Subarus has restored the car and returned it to its original livery.
Engine: 2 litre
Carburetion: Fuel Injected
Transmission: Prodrive 6 Speed