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Tuesday, 21 April, 2015 - 03:55 (UK)  

..:: The Subaru Impreza Story

1. The Subaru Impreza Story, as told by me
2. The History of the Subaru Impreza
3. Special Editions
4. Image Galleries
5. My 2001 Subaru Impreza WRX - Red Mica


..:: The History of the Subaru Impreza

Subaru is a subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries. Which was originally Nakajima Aircraft back in 1917. It's wasn't until 1954 before Fuji Heavy Industries took on the challenge of building a road car. The name of this car was the P-1 (Nothing like the modern Subaru Impreza P1) which stood for Prototype-1. This name was later changed to the Subaru 1500. And here the Subaru was born. The name Subaru Closely translates to reference the star cluster Pleiades, which is the same famous star cluster that we see make up the subaru logo today. over the decades Subaru continued to build motor cars and in 1972 made it's first 4WD car with the Subaru Leone 4WD Station Wagon. From that point onwards Subaru made something for a name for it's self in the 4WD motor car department, almost like a trade mark. Think Subaru, think All Wheel Drive. However it wasn't until 1992 that the Subaru Impreza was born. So let's pick up the story from there.

1992

The Launch of the Subaru Impreza (Japan) The Subaru Impreza was developed after rule changes in the World Rally Championship (WRC) demanded a replacement to the Subaru Legacy which was previously used by Subaru in the WRC. The changes meant that a new smaller, lighter and faster car was required in order to compete in the WRC. So even from day one, the Subaru Impreza was developed for rallying.

1993

The Subaru Impreza reached the UK. Initially the Subaru Impreza was available in both Front Wheel Drive (FWD) and All Wheel Drive (AWD) versions. However the FWD was soon dropped in preference of the trademark Subaru AWD system.

1994

The Turbo Charged Impreza 2000 AWD reached the UK (Known as the Subaru Impreza WRX in Japan). Also in 2004, Subaru Technica International (STI) was born and we started seeing STI versions of the Subaru Impreza Turbo. The Subaru Impreza WRX STI meant much more than an extra badge on the body. The STI stood for a full upgrading of the Subaru Impreza Taking was was learned on the World Rally stages and incorporating developments into the road car. Many areas were upgraded for the Subaru Impreza STI versions. Engine, Suspension and overall performance and handling greatly improved over the standard car. Top speed was limited to 155mph and 0-62 came in at just 4.7seconds for the Impreza STI. These figures made the Subaru Impreza very sought after by the local boy racers. Albeit a bit more expensive than the your every day Peugeot 205 and Vauxhall Nova.

1995

Subaru won the World Rally Championship in a 555 WRC Subaru Impreza driven by fellow Scotsman Colin McRae. A brilliant achievement for both driver and manufacturer. Driver Colin McRae for being the first ever British driver to win the WRC, and Subaru proved that the Impreza was a World Leading rally car. To mark the success of Subaru winning the WRC championship that year, a special edition Subaru Impreza was released in the form of the McRae Series Subaru Impreza.

1996

Subaru took the manufacturer title for a second year in a row, and promptly released another special edition Impreza knows as the Subaru Impreza Catalunya.

1997

Subaru won a hat-trick of manufacturer championships and celebrated once again by releasing a new special edition Impreza. The Subaru Impreza Terzo (Italian for 3rd). Only 333 Subaru Impreza Terzos were made, as a mark of the three championships won with the Subaru Impreza. 1997 also saw a few changes to the Impreza road car. Interior styling was updated including an exclusive MOMO racing steering wheel. Meanwhile STI versions were given an newly designed rear spoiler. In Japan a special 2-door coupe Subaru Impreza was released which was used as the 1998 WRC car.

1998

The Subaru Impreza 22B. A label that often conjures up thoughts of what the ultimate Subaru Impreza might be. The 22B (Note: for the computer geeks out there, 22B in hex converts to 555 in decimal.) provided a 2.2l boxer engine, more hardcore styling all round including 2-doors instead of 4 and an adjustable rear wing made up just some of the key features of the 22B. Only 400 22B's were made in order to celebrate 40 years of Subaru and only 16 of those were destined for the UK. I've seen three in total!! UK versions also had tweaked gearing which was specifically optimised to UK roads. How cool is that!

1999

To celebrate the new driver lineup of Richard Burns in the Subaru World Rally Team, Subaru decided it was once again time for a special edition. This time the RB5 named after Richard Burns. Sadly in November 2003 Richard Burns was diagnosed with a form of brain tumour and later died on the 25th November 2005 from his illness. This makes the RB5 all the more special now. Only 444 RB5's were made, with the option of the WR Sport pack.

1999 Also saw the release of another special edition. The Subaru Impreza P1, which like the Subaru Impreza 22B was a 2-door coupe model, and like the 22B it was only available in WR Blue. However unlike the 22B the Subaru Impreza P1 delivered a 276bhp out of the box, and supporting a whole load of new accessories such as 10-spoke OZ Titanium racing wheels, improved quick-shift gearbox, rear-wiper, new front wing/splitter, new fog lamps and a new exclusive rear wing. Unlike the Impreza 22B there were 1,000 P1's made. Despite this the Subaru Impreza P1 remains one of the most expensive Subaru Impreza's to buy today.

       

2000

For eight years, the Subaru Impreza remained more or less unchanged (externally) until 2000 where Subaru decided to update the Impreza for the 21st century. This change was met with mixed views. The appropriately labeled Bug-eye version by critics, was just that. Bug-eyed! One can only guess it was Subaru's attempt to make the Impreza all cute and cuddly. But this didn't go down well with the fans. Many NewAge impreza's promptly had their headlights replaces with WRC look-alike HI-Definition (HiD) lamps or the more aggressive looking Morette cluster. What was in favour of the fans was the globalisation of the WRX name. Previously only used in Japan, the WRX badge was now stuck to any Impreza with a Turbo!

2001

To celebrate Richard Burns's win in the WRC and the launch of the of the new model, Subaru decided to launch yet another special edition Impreza. This time the Subaru Impreza UK300. Once again just like the 22B and P1 the only colour available was WR Blue. The UK300 supported new prodrive styled spoilers of which the rear wing looked like was picked from bit of an airfix kit and not put together properly. Thankfully the front end was improved slightly, with the addition of improved HiD headlamps which made the car look slightly less like a bug. Yet no matter what they did, it was still going to be remembered as the Bug-Eyed version. 2001 also saw the arrival of the NewAge (Must stop calling it bug-eyed) Subaru Impreza WRX STI to the UK. Just like previous STI's, this was based on the WRX but tweaked a little by the Subaru Technica International (STI) team. If that wasn't enough there was also the option of a Prodrive Performance Pack (PPP). The Subaru Imrpeza WRX STI saw a few key changes over the standard Subaru Impreza WRX. This time, the addition of a 6-speed gearbox as opposed to the WRX 5-speed. Also a nice welcome was similar headlamps which were found on the UK300.

2002

It didn't take long before Subaru had to give in to pressure from fans and go back to the drawing board (literally) to come up with a new style Subaru Impreza. So in 2002, Subaru announced yet another NewAge Impreza. The MY03. Main difference here was the front end. More or less everything else stayed the same, but those bug-eyed headlamps were out and replaced with slightly less ugly ones. Also a bigger bonnet scoop was included. Not to be outdone, the Subaru Impreza WRX power was increased by 10bhp. Not surprisingly many Bug-eyed Subaru Impreza's were made available on the 2nd hand market as many owners wanted to change their driveway accessory for the new style Subaru Impreza.

Although Turbo versions of the Subaru Impreza were available in Japan and Europe from more or less day one. The US favoured their muscle cars and not these Japanese breed of performance cars. Which meant the Subaru Impreza Turbo's never "officially" reached US soil until the 2002 model. Any previous Subaru Impreza's were Imports. Unfortunately for the US market the famous 2.0l boxer engine had to go. The fuel regulations in the US meant that the high performance expected from the Subaru Impreza could not be achieved from the 2.0l engine with US fuel. Instead, the Subaru Impreza was given a nice new 2.5l boxer engine for the US market, in order to keep the power and performance up.

2004

Another Subaru WRC title win with Petter Solberg at the wheel. Once again sticking with tradition a new special edition was released, known as the Subaru Impreza WR1. I must admit the WR1 is one of my personal favourites, if only because of the unique Ice Blue colour. Only 500 WR1's were made, but Subaru decided to throw everything at it, including PPP and Driver Controlled Centre Diff (DCCD). The Subaru Impreza WRX STI also saw further improvements in 2004 with upgraded mechanics from the Japanese models. This new revised STI saw a new front diff, along with the DCCD system which was found on the WR1 and UK300 models. Nice!

2005

Towards the end of 2005. Again just 2 years after the previous model was replaced, Subaru decided to release another new bodied Subaru Impreza, the MY06. This time with new crystal rear light cluster and yet another new front end. The jury is still out about whether or not it is a hit or a miss. I personally think it looks Awesome. Almost as though Subaru have forgotten the last 5 years and gone back to the aggressive styling of the original Subaru Impreza from the 90's! I admit, it did take a few days to get used to, but after you see past the SEAT grill and BMW headlamps you soon realise that this is the sort of car you want other people to see you in, in their rear view mirror. (Admittedly briefly as you scream past them shortly after words :) Sadly the MY06 marked the end for the traditional 2.0l boxer engine. Instead we saw the introduction of the 2.5l boxer engine into the Subaru Impreza. A sad end which seems to have gone relatively unnoticed. But then think of what they can do with that extra 500cubic centimetres of space. Mwaahaahaahaa!...

2006

Towards the end of 2006. Subaru / Prodrive announced the realease of a new Special Edition Impreza. Sadly without recent success in the WRC. This time the special edition was to celebrate the life of previous Subaru WRC Champion Richard Burns who sadly died 12 months previously due to a brain tumour. The New Special Edition Subaru Impreza was to be named the RB320. That's 320bhp and a limited number of 320 to be produced. Essentially the RB320 is a 2006 model Subaru Impeza WRX STi PPP with just abotu ever add on you can think of, along with bespoke prodrive/blitsen dampers, exclusive obsidian black paint work, black alloys and full dront grill set. All in all making the RB320 very exclusive and ver agressive looking with only small markings on the passenger, drivers doors and boot lid of a small orange RB320 logo. The rest of the car is very much black in respect for the late Richard Burns. A true trubite to a great champion!

     

2007

I have yet to come up with a word that describes Subaru in 2007. At the time of writing Subaru had recently announced the drascically redesigned 2008 model of the Subaru Impreza (You can see some photos here) Make your own mind up about what you think of it. My initial thoughts are yuk.. And I have to say my thoughts are still more or less the same. The car does NOT look agressive as it shoudl and just looks like any other family hatchback on the road. a fair pecentage of the Impreza's appeal has always been it's agressive shape and styling. Even teh bugeye version admitedly wasn't welcomed by many had the trademark styling that for every other angle you knew it was an Impreza and more importantly a car to be reckoned with!. This new one doesn't do much for me I'm afraid. Doesn't excite me when I see pictures of it like previous styles. The same recipie is still there usign the same 2.5l boxer engine from teh MY06 models, a new intercooler has been shoved in. Power remains teh same at 225ps for the WRX model, awd as standard of course :). However the tyres are narrower than previous versions. Also it's worth noting that at time of writing there are no plans for a WRX version or saloon version for the UK. Instead we'll have the basic models then a jump up to the STi's I see this as a mistake as the WRX hits a just about affordable market for most peopel who cant afford te £25k price of the STi. However somethign new for the MY08 Impreza will be the introduction of a 170bhp Diesel Impreza. Thats right diesel. Should be interesting...Watch this space...

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CitroŽn Aircross SUV concept revealed
Aircross concept previews a new family of crossovers and bolder looks for all future CitroŽn models

This CitroŽn Aircross concept car points the way to a new family of crossovers for the brand, as well as demonstrating how the radical looks of the C4 Cactus will be adapted for use on every CitroŽn by 2020. In addition, it is likely to lead to PSA Group stablemates Peugeot and DS co-developing similarly sized SUV models.

The Aircross?s production intent is emphasised by the fact that it sits on the EMP2 scalable platform, which underpins all of PSA Peugeot CitroŽn?s mid to large offerings. The concept car is 4.58m long, 2.1m wide and 1.8m tall. That makes it close to a Land Rover Discovery Sport in all dimensions but width ? a criterion concept car designers like to exaggerate the most.

It is thought that the looks could be adapted for a family†of crossovers, ranging from a Mini Countryman rival to a larger, seven-seat SUV. However, speaking at the Shanghai motor show Citroen boss Linda Jackson highlighted that no decisions had been made on how big the brand's future SUV line-up would be.

"We are looking at it now," said Jackson. "Certainly the SUV market is the fastest growing sector in the world, but we are trying to analyse how that will develop in the future, and where it leaves the future of seven-seat MPVs."

Although the Aircross will be sold globally, Citroen's push to create a new SUV is strongly driven by the continuing emergence of SUV sales in Asia. Within the SUV segment, large C-segment vehicles are currently the best-selling cars, but sales of smaller B-segment SUVs are growing faster. Last December in China Citroen launched the C3-XR, a high-riding version of the C3 decked in body cladding, and it is already the firm's biggest-selling model, accounting for 10,000 sales a month. Consequently, Citroen is also investigating launching the C4 Cactus in the region.

"Our core strategy is to reduce the number of silhouettes we offer from 14 to 7, but to focus more clearly on the biggest segments," said Jackson. "The Aircross is a concept that explains some of where we want to go."

Furthermore, with Cactus sales described as encouraging and CitroŽn eager to establish its own identity among PSA?s DS and Peugeot brands, Jackson confirmed she is keen to accelerate the roll-out of the new look over the next five years.

?We need to go back to what we were always good at: design,? said Jackson, who cited the 2CV, CX and SM as examples of previous daring CitroŽn creations. ?That†was complemented by an emphasis on comfort over sportiness, spaciousness and a charisma that made the owner feel at home. We want those qualities back.?

Jackson believes that the move will make CitroŽns more instantly recognisable and provoke buyers to either love or hate the cars. ?It?s no good being everybody?s third choice. You end up having to use discounts to persuade buyers to choose your vehicles, and at that point you don?t have a sustainable business,? she said.

?It will take time, but it is certain that the next generation of CitroŽns will be a leap forward for us. If we want stand-out cars, then we have to be bold.?

The Aircross is powered by a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. An electric motor producing 95bhp and 148lb ft is located on the rear axle and is combined with a front-mounted 1.6-litre petrol engine developing 218bhp and 203lb ft.

The electric motor is fuelled by a lithium ion battery pack that can be recharged in three and a half hours via a domestic socket. The car has a claimed all-electric range of 31 miles for urban routes and switches between the electric motor and internal combustion engine for journeys that call for regular acceleration and deceleration. On the motorway, the petrol engine is used exclusively.

The Aircross also features a boost function that calls on the combined 313bhp of the electric motor and petrol engine when the driver accelerates heavily. This allows a 0-62mph time of 4.5sec. CO2 emissions are rated at 39g/km and fuel economy 166mpg.

CitroŽn Aircross - key features

Changing faces - As on the Cactus, the thin headlights link to the CitroŽn logo. The design is described as a hallmark that will appear on every car CitroŽn makes, but the area below will change according to bodystyle. On the Aircross, the ?mouth? of the car is more open than on the Cactus, emphasising its width.

Not just chrome - CitroŽn is bucking trends set by German premium makers. As a result, there are few chrome accents in the cabin. Materials here include Teflon coating and brushed aluminium, which are durable but tactile. CitroŽn refers to ?sofa spirit?, meaning an interior that?s both inviting and comfortable.

Airbumps evolve - Set low to emphasise the car?s bolder SUV stance, the ?Alloy Bumps? are made of honeycomb aluminium castings surrounded by hard rubber. Production versions are unlikely to be so intricate or weighty, but they show how the Airbump concept will evolve for different vehicle types.

Production focus - Exaggerated width, wheels and tyres aside, there are likely to be few changes when the car makes production. The ?Air Signs? (chrome-finished signatures framing the rear window) and ?Air Curtains? (intakes at the front of the car) are both functional devices that enhance aerodynamics.

Q&A with Alexandre Malval, head of CitroŽn design

What are CitroŽn?s design philosophies?

?We want to highlight function and show it off. We won?t design anything for show. It must have a real use. We want a simplicity about our cars, but one that brings a feelgood factor to the owner. And, no, simple doesn?t mean budget??

Is the rounded exterior another CitroŽn hallmark?

?Yes. We don?t want our cars to be aggressive in any way. The German brands are all about creating a presence by using sharp, angry creases and bold lines. We want a serenity, and that means rounded curves, simple volumes and the confidence to show off technical details rather than try to hide them behind design.?

Can that be extended to all CitroŽns?

?If we choose to, why not? We have a history through the CX, SM and more for doing things our own way. It is time to rediscover that self-confidence again. We want our cars to be friendly, quirky and even cosy. Making rounded edges work from every angle, and with all the reflections from natural light, is not easy, but I hope we have achieved it.?

Read more Shanghai motor show news

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493bhp Peugeot 308 R Hybrid concept at Shanghai show
Peugeot Sport has developed a near 500bhp hybrid version of the 308 hatchback for the Shanghai motor show

The Peugeot 308 R Hybrid has been revealed at the Shanghai motor show, complete with a combined power output of 493bhp and 538lb ft of torque.

The concept car is powered by a 267bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine from the Peugeot RCZ R coupe, and two electric motors that all combine to help give the car a 0-62mph time of 4.0 seconds and CO2 emissions of 70g/km.

The 308 R Hybrid has been adapted to cope with the extra power on offer, with the front and rear tracks both widened by 80mm. It sits on 19-inch alloy wheels, clad with 235/35 R19 tyres.

It sends power to all four wheels, and has upgraded brakes front and rear. There are four driving modes - Hot Lap, Track, Road, and ZEV.

Hot Lap mode is designed to make the most of the car's power, while Track only allows access to 395bhp. Track uses the petrol engine and the rear electric motor, with the front one acting as a booster for acceleration.

Road mode has 296bhp and uses the petrol engine, supplemented by the rear motor for acceleration, while ZEV only runs on the electric motors. Peugeot has not said how far the car can travel on electric power alone, but has said it can be fully recharged on a fast charger in just 45 minutes.

At the front, the grille has been modified and features a chequered pattern, while the bonnet has two air scoops, one on either side. It is more understated at the rear, with a narrow spoiler at the top of the tailgate. There are two more air scoops on the bumper, which help keep the battery cool by drawing out hot air.

The two-tone paint job is familiar to the 308 R concept that first appeared at the 2013 Frankfurt motor show, although it is blue and black on the hybrid. The paint contains glass particles to add shine, while the colour scheme is normally only used on French competition cars.

Inside, the cockpit is familiar to the rest of the 308 range in many ways, with the same instrumentation. However, it gets four individual sport seats, in fawn leather, while the dashboard is covered in a soft-touch fabric that Peugeot uses on its concept cars.

It has the same small steering wheel as the rest of the 308 range, but with 308 Hybrid R badging. The six-speed automatic gearbox is controlled by paddles behind the wheel, and a head-up display projects the crucial data into the driver's eye-line.

Speaking to Autocar at the Shanghai motor show, head of Peugeot Sport Bruno Famin†stated hybrid sports cars are the future for the firm.

"We have spent 12 months developing this car so far, and it is driveable - very driveable.†As a company, we don?t have big engines - the 1.6-litre turbo is the biggest - but electrification is a way to add power in a very clever way.

"Five hundred horsepower with 70g/km is something quite special. A team of 15 people have worked on the car for 12 months -and will continue working on it," he said.

There is no word on whether the Hybrid R will make it into production, or be used as a racing car. However, Peugeot boss Maxime Picat said the firm would not rule it out.

"This is proof that we can make it, but now I want to be sure that I can sell it if I want to - it is perfectly possible, but it is a question of how much it will cost?

"We are quite well advanced with the development, and it looks possible for production, but it is a question of how we commercialise it," Picat said.

Read more Shanghai motor show news here†

Bentley remains warm over Le Mans 24 Hours return

Bentley Continental GT3 race car
British manufacturer could be represented by privateer racing teams if rule changes permit its Continental GT3 to compete at La Sarthe

Bentley remains open to the idea of returning to the Le Mans 24 Hours in the future, although it could be as a privateer effort rather than a full-blown works team.

Although the British manufacturer's thundering Continental GT3 car isn't currently eligible to compete in the famous endurance race, rules changes expected in the near future should open the door for it to compete, along with other GT3-specification machinery from the likes of McLaren, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Lamborghini.

But entrants in the Grand Touring categories at Le Mans don't run at the front, and Bentley boss Wolfgang DŁrheimer viewed that as a potential sticking point as far as a works effort is concerned.

"If the rules change then we would be eligible to go to Le Mans with this car. It's not decided whether we will do it because when we are racing at the moment we are going for overall victories and we're not out to win classes. At Le Mans we cannot make an overall victory without having an LMP1 car," he said.

M-Sport, the Cumbrian firm collaborating with Bentley on the Continental GT3, has now built 17 examples of the car, some for independent racing teams, and DŁrheimer thinks it feasible that one of them could enter the French race: "If the changes happen I think we will see at least customer teams racing in a Continental GT3 car at Le Mans."

Bentley's boss said he was satisfied with the success accrued by the Continental GT3 so far: "We like this project very much. With the Continental GT3 as a race car, people realise that it is essentially the same car. It has lightweight construction, new engineering and ideas for the future which our road cars will benefit from.

"It fits exactly with the image and the approach of the Bentley Boys of the past. It's gentleman racing, it's fast and the cars have big, noisy engines."

DŁrheimer confirmed that a follow-up to the limited edition, race-bred Continental GT3-R road car was in the works, as predicted by Autocar earlier this year.

"The GT3-R, is a big success. People like it; we have some customers who ordered a second already after having one, in order to have more fun on the tracks, and so I think we will have a second edition coming," he said.

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Bentley considers styling tweaks for EXP 10 Speed 6

Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 concept
Customer feedback to two-seat sports car concept has been encouraging, says Bentley boss, with a few minor changes planned

Bentley will tweak the styling of its EXP 10 Speed 6 should the concept ever make production, according to company boss Wolfgang DŁrheimer.

The Crewe-based manufacturer showed off the two-seater to a Chinese audience at today?s Shanghai motor show as part of the company?s efforts to build a database of customer opinion about the vehicle.

The car has already been displayed at the Geneva and New York motor shows and will visit the Middle East on its way back to the UK from China.

?The car needs to go through all challenging criteria in order to get to a final evaluation of whether we make it or don?t make it,? DŁrheimer told Autocar.

?After the summer we will have a solid database from all major markets around the world, detailing how the car is perceived, how its styling connects or disconnects to our major target group and what price and volume potential is behind it. Then we can start to build up our business case for the car.?

DŁrheimer said he?d been pleased at the initial reaction given that the car represents a dramatic diversion from the current Bentley model line-up.

?What we already received as a clear indication after Geneva, the message was ?don?t change anything, just do it?.

?There are only little tweaks that need to be done. Our present intention is to make the front section look a little bit faster. The grille will not be as upright, it will be a little bit more laid down.

?We will probably look again at the headlight configuration. They look a little bit awkward from different angles. For a Bentley face, circular shaped headlights are what our customers like. This type of headlight you find in the Mulsanne and in the forthcoming SUV, and our customers say this is what we like from Bentley.?

DŁrheimer said Bentley would continue to test reaction to new models in public in a similar way to which it has done with the EXP 9F ? the forerunner to the Bentayga SUV ? and EXP 10 Speed 6, but not for successors to its established model range.

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BTCC 2015 race report: Donington Park

The race weekend was dominated by the Volkswagen CCs of Team BMR and Honda Yuasa Racing's new Civic Type-R
Rounds four to six of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship saw three former champions take victory

Matt Neal has retained his lead at the top of this year's British Touring Car Championship, after taking victory in an action-packed third race at Donington Park yesterday.†

However, it was Team BMR who won two of the three rounds over the weekend, to usurp factory-backed Honda Yuasa Racing in the Teams Championship standings.†

BTCC veteran Jason Plato drew first blood by taking the chequered flag in race one and earning his first victory for Team BMR at the wheel of his Volkswagen CC.

The double champion started third on the grid, but managed to jump the factory Honda Civic Type-R of Gordon Shedden when the lights went green and then took the lead from teammate and defending champion Colin Turkington by the end of lap one.

From there, Plato opened up a 1.5sec gap which he held for most of the race and until the finish line, with Shedden snatching second place from Turkington a lap later - where the pair remained for the rest of the race in a tight battle.

Elsewhere, Andrew Jordan finished a distant fourth for MG, while Sam Tordoff held on for fifth in his WSR BMW 125i M Sport. Championship leader Matt Neal got as high as fifth position, before his soft-compound Dunlop tyres succumbed to the 66kg of extra ballast, eventually dropping him to 16th.

Thanks to his fastest lap in race one, Gordon Shedden started the second race in pole position, but was beaten off the line by Team BMR man Colin Turkington in the other Volkswagen CC.

The two swapped positions again a lap later at Redgate after their cars exchanged paintwork, and contact was made again at Craner Curves which saw Shedden collide with the MG of Andrew Jordan and fall back to 14th.

After Team BMR owner and driver Warren Scott and the Ford of Alex Martin had a coming together, the safety car was deployed. Turkington expertly judged the restart and opened up a gap to the MG of Jordan, who was left to try and hold off Adam Morgan in his Mercedes-Benz A Class and the Honda Civic Type-R of Matt Neal.

Morgan and Neal eventually got either side of Jordan on the back straight during the final few laps, whose soft compound tyres were fading rapidly. After taking to the kerb, Neal ran wide and tapped Morgan - sending the Mercedes wide, while the Honda driver kept his foot in and slipped past Jordan to finish in second place.

On the penultimate lap, Morgan tapped Jordan and put the MG briefly sideways before he recovered to finish fourth. Race one winner Jason Plato finished fifth after being hampered with 75kg of ballast for his successful efforts and just held off the WSR BMW of Rob Collard, who finished sixth by three tenths of a second.††

The third and final race of the weekend turned out to be a cracker, with Matt Neal taking his second win of the season in a dramatic affair.

WSR BMW?s Rob Collard led the field into the first turn after jumping Josh Cook?s Chevrolet off the line. However, Cook was soon back hounding the rear of Collard?s BMW and on the third lap he slipped ahead of Collard, who was clearly looking after his soft tyres.

Team BMR driver Aron Smith was setting the pace and climbed from 12th to third after passing Jason Plato and Matt Neal. On lap seven, the MG of Jack Goff and WSR BMW of Sam Tordoff left the track at speed and crashed after making contact, which brought out the safety car.

At the restart, Smith used his initiative to go around the outside of Collard at Redgate and Andrew Jordan forcefully made a move on Jason Plato and made it stick.

On lap 14, Smith in his Volkswagen CC made a daring move on Cook, but both ran wide at speed with Smith pulling off a mighty save while going across the grass, and rejoining in sixth place.

Three laps later, with Rob Collard briefly leading, Matt Neal got up the inside of his WSR BMW 125i M Sport and Jordan held on to the rear of the Civic Type-R, to jump into second place.

Despite Neal carrying 66kg of ballast to Jordan?s 48kg, the factory Honda driver managed to hold off the MG of Jordan under severe pressure to take the win by just 0.157sec.

Gordon Shedden in the other Honda Civic Type-R claimed the final podium spot ahead of Rob Collard, while Aiden Moffat climbed from 16th on the grid to finish a superb fifth in his Mercedes A Class, ahead of Team BMR?s Smith.†

       

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