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SUBARU IMPREZA 555 GROUP A STATISTICS AND RESULTS

CARS
During the four years that Prodrive and Subaru campaigned the Impreza 555 only 9 distinct number plates were assigned to the works cars while competing in the WRC. All bar one of the registrations featured the numerics 555, the exception being N1WRC as used by Colin McRae in 1996. All in all, Prodrive built 63 Group A specification Imprezas with a significant number of these being used to re-shell the works cars and hence carried the familiar number plates.

L555BAT
L555REP
L555SRT
L555STE
M555STE
N1WRC
N555BAT
N555SRT
N555WRC



DRIVERS
Ten drivers competed in WRC rallies as work's entries during the 1992-1996 seasons, with two of them - Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz - winning rallies outright in the car. The Asia Pacific championship was also contested with both Colin McRae and Possum Bourne taking wins.

Ari Vatanen (Finland)
Carlos Sainz (Spain)
Colin McRae (Great Britain)
Didier Auriol (France)
Kenneth Eriksson (Sweden)
Markku Alen (Finland)
Mats Jonsson (Sweden)
Piero Liatti (Italy)
Possum Bourne (New Zealand)
Richard Burns (Great Britain)

Vatanen - McRae - Burns - Sainz - Liatti

RALLIES
1993 - Only two rallies were entered in the brand new Impreza 555, the others being contested in the outgoing group A Legacy. Ari Vatanen almost clinched victory on it's debut in Finland, setting 15 fastest stage times and finally coming home second. The sister car, driven by Markku Alen, crashed out just after the start.

On Rally GB Vatanen came home a little off the pace in fifth while Colin McRae retired with a punctured radiator.

1000 Lakes (Finland) 2nd
DNF
Vatanen
Alen
L555BAT
L555STE
Great Britain 5th
DNF
Vatanen
McRae
L555STE
L555BAT


1994 - The '94 car was of similar specification to the '93 model but now used Pirelli tyres instead of Michelin and featured a cockpit adjustable hydraulic front differential. A fully active centre differential was introduced for the Tour de Corse rally and was subsequently used in future rallies.

Carlos Sainz joined Subaru after a difficult year at Lancia to partner Colin McRae in a full WRC program. A string of podium finishes for one or other of the drivers, but rarely both, lead to second place in the Manufacturer's championship just behind Toyota. The Group A Impreza 555's first outright win came on the '94 Acropolis Rally and this was followed up by five more victories in the WRC and Asia-Pacific Championship that year.

Monte Carlo 3rd
10th
Sainz
McRae
L555REP
L555SRT
Portugal 4th
DNF
Sainz
McRae
L555STE
L555BAT
Corsica (France) 2nd
DNF
Sainz
McRae
L555REP
L555BAT
Acropolis (Greece) 1st
EXC
Sainz
McRae
L555REP
L555BAT
Indonesia 2nd
DNF
Bourne
Burns
 
Argentina 2nd
DNF
Sainz
McRae
L555REP
L555BAT
New Zealand 1st
DNF
DNF
DNF
McRae
Sainz
Bourne
Burns
L555BAT
L555REP
L555STE
L555SRT
Malaysia 1st
2nd
Bourne
Burns
 
1000 Lakes (Finland) 3rd Sainz L555REP
Australia 1st
4th
McRae
Bourne
 
Sanremo 2nd
5th
Sainz
McRae
L555REP
L555BAT
Hong Kong-Peking 1st
2nd
Bourne
Burns
 
Great Britain 1st
DNF
DNF
McRae
Sainz
Burns
L555BAT
L555REP
M555STE
Thailand 2nd Burns  


1995 - New for '95 were moulded slicks (17% tread pattern) to replace full-on slicks on the tarmac events. The turbo restrictor was also reduced in size from 38mm to 34mm to try to limit engine performance. Both of these changes were universally unpopular with the WRC drivers.

Optimization of the gear ratios, camshaft profiles, compression ratio, engine mapping and the introduction of anti-lag ensured the Impreza 555's raw speed over the stages was barely affected by these regulatory changes. The transmission was upgraded to be fully active with the addition of an electronically controlled front differential.

With Carlos Sainz and Colin McRae still the primary drivers, the mandatory 3rd team car (new championship regulation) was filled on a rotational basis by Piero Liatti, Richard Burns and Possum Bourne. After the disaster of all three cars retiring from the Swedish rally with identical oil pressure valve problems, the season picked up. Five outright victories on WRC events, including two Impreza podium lock-outs in Spain and GB, resulted in the Manufacturer's Title for Subaru and the Driver's Title for Colin McRae. McRae clinched the title on home soil at Rally GB in the November.

Monte Carlo 1st
8th
DNF
Sainz
Liatti
McRae
L555REP
M555STE
L555BAT
Sweden DNF
DNF
DNF
Sainz
McRae
Jonsson
L555REP
L555BAT
M555STE
Portugal 1st
3rd
7th
Sainz
McRae
Burns
L555REP
L555BAT
M555STE
Corsica (France) 4th
5th
6th
Sainz
McRae
Liatti
L555REP
L555BAT
M555STE
Indonesia 1st
7th
McRae
Bourne
 
New Zealand 1st 7th
DNF
McRae
Bourne
Burns
L555BAT
M555STE
L555REP
Malaysia DNF
DNF
McRae
Bourne
 
Australia 2nd
DNF
DNF
McRae
Sainz
Bourne
L555BAT
L555REP
M555STE
Hong Kong-Peking 3rd
4th
Burns
Bourne
 
Catalunya (Spain) 1st
2nd
3rd
Sainz
McRae
Liatti
L555REP
L555BAT
M555STE
Great Britain 1st
2nd
3rd
McRae
Sainz
Burns
L555BAT
L555REP
M555STE
Thailand 3rd
4th
5th
Burns
Liatti
Bourne
 


1996 - Development of the car in '96 was limited due to imminent major rule changes in '97 with the introduction of World Rally Cars. The new Impreza WRC was to be based on the 2-door 'Retna' shell and featured Peter Stevens developed wide arches and large rear wing. The drivetrain was pretty much pure Group A 555 carry over.

With Carlos Sainz departing for Ford, taking his Repsol sponsorship package with him, Kenneth Eriksson was recruited as a replacement. Richard Burns' move to Mistubishi for a full time drive meant Piero Liatti gained full time status as the 3rd driver in the Impreza 555.

Good results were posted once more with three WRC victories, all being scored by Colin McRae, and a couple more 1st in the AP Championship split between McRae and Eriksson. This was enough to secure a second Manufacturer's Title. McRae finished second in the Driver's Championship, behind Mistubishi's Tommi Makinen who won his first of four consecutive titles for the rival Japanese manufacturer. The era of the works Group A Impreza 555 ended on a high note however with a 1-2 in Catalunya for Colin McRae and Piero Liatti.

Sweden 3rd
5th
10th
12th
McRae
Eriksson
Auriol
Liatti
N1WRC
N555WRC
N555BAT
N555SRT
Thailand 1st
2nd
3rd
McRae
Eriksson
Liatti
N1WRC
L555STE
L555SRT
Safari (Kenya) 2nd
4th
5th
Eriksson
McRae
Liatti
N555WRC
N1WRC
M555STE
Indonesia 2nd
DNF
DNF
Liatti
McRae
Eriksson
L555SRT
N1WRC
N555WRC
Acropolis (Greece) 1st
4th
5th
McRae
Liatti
Eriksson
N1WRC
N555SRT
N555WRC
Malaysia 1st
DNF
Eriksson
Liatti
L555STE
L555SRT
Argentina 3rd
7th
DNF
Eriksson
Liatti
McRae
N555WRC
N555BAT
N1WRC
New Zealand 2nd
3rd
Eriksson
Liatti
L555STE
L555SRT
1000 Lakes (Finland) 5th
DNF
Eriksson
McRae
N555WRC
N1WRC
Australia 2nd
4th
7th
Eriksson
McRae
Liatti
N555WRC
N1WRC
N555BAT
Sanremo 1st
5th
DNF
McRae
Eriksson
Liatti 
N1WRC
N555WRC
N555BAT
Hong Kong-Peking DNF
DNF
Eriksson
Liatti
 
Catalunya (Spain) 1st
2nd
7th
McRae
Liatti
Eriksson
N1WRC
N555BAT
N555WRC

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