The world rally championship gets under way in Monte Carlo this weekend and Subaru will adopt a cautious approach to cope with the changeable dry, wet and often icy asphalt conditions.

The world rally championship gets under way in Monte Carlo this weekend and Subaru will adopt a cautious approach to cope with the changeable dry, wet and often icy asphalt conditions.


Subaru team boss David Lapworth recently said that his squad's sole aim for 2005 was to help Petter Solberg regain the drivers' title, which he lost to Frenchman Sebastién Loeb last year. The Briton has admitted, however, that a conservative approach for the start of the year may mean that they will struggle to win next weekend's Monte Carlo season-opener.


Subaru will run a modified version of last year's Impreza WRC for the first two winter rounds of the season, before introducing the 2005-spec model at the Corona Rally Mexico in March.


"Up to now, Monte Carlo hasn't been such a good event for me, but I can't wait to get back behind the wheel and fight for championship points," Solberg said at the weekend. "I like the rally, and this year hope to make it to the podium. In terms of the season, my aim is to get the drivers' title back again. I'm going to try and do everything correctly and not make any mistakes. It's a team game, and I'll be working with everyone to make sure we get back on top. We're all standing together for the same goal."


The inexperienced pair of Stephane Sarrazin and Chris Atkinson will partner Solberg this year. Lapworth acknowledged that having two relatively inexperienced drivers sharing the second manufacturer points-nominated car would hamper Subaru's chances of winning the manufacturers' title.


"Our overall objective this season is to make Petter world champion, and it's therefore important to start the season on a solid platform," Lapworth said. "We'll be following a slightly conservative approach for the first two rallies. They're specialised, and the focus is on tyres and tactics, so we feel there's little to be gained by introducing a new car.


"These are events on which you capitalise on experience. From Mexico onwards, it's the car that counts and that's when the Impreza WRC2005 comes along. That said, we think Petter in the Impreza WRC2004 is more than capable of achieving podium results on the first two events," he added.