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By John Matras
FAMOUS FOR CARS sliding broadside through woodland corners, throwing up grand showers of mud and gravel from narrow, knobby tires, performance rallying is, like soccer, perhaps the most popular form of automotive competition that most Americans have never heard of.

The excitement is undeniable, as anyone who has caught, say, the Swedish rally on cable TV will tell you. Small, high-performance cars snarl down a snow-covered road, often as not sideways or even airborne, all in search of the fastest time of the day.

This is performance rallying, and the best in the world – rallying’s big leagues – is the World Rally Championship (WRC). Growing from on-road rallies in Europe after World War II, rallying was formalized as the WRC in 1968.

Subaru’s full-scale participation in WRC competition began in 1990 in the grueling Safari Rally, placing sixth overall and winning the stock class in a rally that most don’t finish.

By 1995, Subaru had become a mainstay of the WRC circuit, winning five of the eight championship events to win the manufacturer’s title. Two more titles, all in special versions of the Impreza, followed in 1996 and 1997. Subaru still continues as a front-runner in the hotly contested WRC, battling the factory rally teams of Citroen, Mitsubishi, Ford, Peugeot and others.

You can follow the latest WRC news on the Internet at (Subaru World Rally Team) or going to and clicking on the Motorsports tab.

Please visit for more information about Subaru involvement in World Rallying.