In case you missed a hyperactive Norwegian leaping across your television screen last November, Subaru UK has this to remind you that Petter Solberg won the 2003 World Rally Championship – the fastest and most powerful UK-sanctioned Impreza yet.
Badged ‘WR1’, the Solberg edition is limited to just 500 cars and, though based on an STi, it’s a world away both on road and track. The special edition is easy to spot: it sits 25mm lower on gorgeous 18in Speedline seven-spoke alloys, and comes in attractive Ice Blue paint with a WRC-style front spoiler with integral driving lights, stainless steel mesh grille and some slightly naff ‘WR1’ transfers on the front wings.
Things aren’t too different from an STi on the inside, save for grey rather than blue trim for the comfortable and supportive bucket seats, a commemorative plaque on the dash, numbered tax disc holder and ‘WR1’ logos on the floor mats and aluminium gearknob.
Then there’s the pair of switches beside the handbrake that operate the WR1’s DCCD, or Driver’s Control Centre Differential; flick from automatic to manual mode and a dial allows you to vary the torque distribution between the front and rear wheels – delivering up to 64 per cent of the WR1’s power to the back end.