The Subaru World Rally Team offers a preview of what should be a very exciting 2008 season for the WRC.
Fifteen rounds, a switch to Pirelli Championship control tyres, the launch part-way into the season of the latest Subaru Impreza WRC car, and an increase to four manufacturer teams are sure to make 2008 a year of intense competition and adrenaline-fuelled action from start to finish.
The calendar starts with the traditional season-opener in Monte Carlo, which is run as a full four-day event starting on Thursday 24 January. Rally Jordan, the fifth event of the year, is a brand new addition to the WRC and the first time the series has ventured into the Middle East. Run at the end of April, temperatures on the banks of the Dead Sea will be amongst the highest of the year as they soar towards 40 degrees Celsius.
Rally Mexico will be Chris Atkinson's 50th WRC event with the Subaru World Rally Team, whilst Rally Argentina will represent 125 rallies together for the duo of Petter Solberg and Phil Mills.
Also of note is the news that the famously spectacular Ouninpohja stage on Rally Finland will not be run in 2008.
The stage, along which Petter Solberg and Phil Mills set the fastest-ever stage time in 2004, was deemed too fast last year and so has been left out of the route.
A sight likely to be common this year is that of drivers changing wheels at the side of the road. With the shift to Pirelli tyres comes the banning of anti-deflation mousse, meaning that punctures will be rife, especially on rocky rallies such as Acropolis which this year celebrates its 55th WRC anniversary.
Tyre tread pattern and compound are limited, meaning that they will play less of a deciding factor between teams, promising closer competition and more spectacular rallying for the fans.
Enough factors overall to bring many unpredictable variables into this year's competition.