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The New Year began just as the homologation for the latest variant of the Group N Impreza came into effect. Coinciding with the opening of the new season, Impreza users the world over immediately advanced their plans for participation on events with the new car.

After being exhibited at the Autosport Show in Birmingham on January 11th and 12th, the vehicle for Nasser Al Attiyah, completed in the workshops of Prodrive, was sent off for the Qatar International Rally, the opening round of this yearfs Middle East Rally Championship (MERC).

The Qatar International Rally ran from Friday, January 25th to Saturday, the 26th. The first day should be commemorated as the new Impreza ran for the first time in international competition worldwide. With Al Attiyah at the wheel, the car recorded the best time of the day, and at the end of the opening leg, was some 2 minutes 41 seconds ahead of the 2nd-placed car, a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.
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