In 1997 World Rally Car regulations were introduced for the World Rally Championship that were more liberal than the Group A regulations that had been mandated since 1986.
Subaru with their partner Prodrive in the UK built for WRC evolutions of the 2 door Impreza before the model was replaced by the all new 4 door Impreza GD in 2001.
The 1999 WRC evolution of the Impreza known as the WRC99 was the first rally car to compete on a World Rally with drive by wire throttle and steering wheel mounted paddle shift for the hydraulically actuated semi automatic transmission, technology that was imported from contemporary Formula One practice.
Richard Burns was the only Subaru works driver to compete in all rounds of the 1999 World Rally Championship with a Impreza WRC99 and he recorded wins in Greece, Australian and Britain on his way to a second place finish in the 1999 WRC championship.
Juha Kankkunen recorded two more wins in Argentina and Finland with the Impreza WRC99 to help Subaru finish second, just four points adrift of Toyota, in the 1999 World Rally Manufacturers championship.
Richard Burns and Juha Kankkunen both used the Impreza WRC99 in the first three rounds of the 2000 World Rally Championship and signed the model off with a 1-2 finish on the Safari Rally Kenya with Richard and co driver Robert Reid ahead of Juha and his co driver Juha Repo.
Richard scored 3 more victories with the newer Impreza WRC2000 and finished 2nd again in the World Rally Championship while Subaru with no additional victories dropped to third in the manufacturers championship.
Richards #3 Safari winning WRC99 is seen in these photographs at Prodrives Head Office in Banbury.
Thanks for joining me on this “Drive By Wire Safari” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a BRM Formula One car. Don’t forget to come back now !