Xevi is Back on a Subaru

by : Anthony Fontanelle

At the start of the 2007 World Rally Championship Season, veteran Xavier 'Xevi' Pons failed to land a contract with a WRC team. But it can be remembered that he said that he will stay in shape and would be glad to race again if given the chance in the 2008 season or late this year. This may have brought to mind of racing fans the sabbatical taken by Formula One's Mika Hakkinen, one that led to retirement. But Pons did not go the way of Hakkinen since he will soon be starting for Subaru.

The Subaru World Rally team gave Pons their third car to drive for the rest of the 2007 season. The team's managing director, Richard Taylor, has this to say after they have signed Xevi for the one and a half year contract: "We're delighted to be able to field a car for Xevi. It is a huge bonus to get another experienced driver into the team to complement our existing driver line-up. Although Xevi has been around in the WRC for a few years, he has never driven a Subaru in all that time, but we're looking forward to welcoming him into our team and developing a working relationship with him."

Although Subaru now has three cars fielded for the WRC 2007, the team maintained that logistics of adding Pons' car in the mix will not be a problem. "The logistics of running three cars instead of two will not present a problem for the team, bearing in mind we ran three cars on selected events last season," said Taylor. "We always maintained that we'd be happy to expand our team again if we could find a driver who is serious about his approach to the sport and Xevi fits that bill perfectly."

During the signing of the contract with Subaru, the 27-year old driver who will be making his appearance on the Subaru Impreza WRC has this to say: "We have worked very hard to make this happen and I'm very happy to be back in the World Rally Championship with a top team. This is a fantastic opportunity to prove myself against the best drivers, and I want to repay the faith the Subaru World Rally Team has shown in me by producing excellent results."

And this week, Pons will be able to get a feel on the Subaru Impreza WRC2007 as the takes it for practice sessions in preparation for the upcoming Rally Finland and the Rally Deutschland as well.

"It was some time ago that I started to have conversations with Subaru and it wasn't until recently (May) that we finally came to an agreement," said Pons who will be driving the Impreza equipped with a and other Subaru components. "I am a young driver and I want to show my talent with them and show that I can be a fast driver in the future. I am now starting to get to know the team and during July I will do two days of testing - one in Finland and one in Germany."

The Spanish rally driver said that he is hoping to take a win for Subaru but still has no idea of how well he and the car would gel. "I hope I can - but I haven't tested with the car yet and I don't know what level the car is at. I know the team have been working a lot and the new car will be really good, for sure."