Four more companies have chosen to partner the Subaru World Rally Team in the 2005 rally season, highlighting the increasing interest from sponsors in the British-based team and the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). In addition to new deals with German wheel producers BBS and Italian automotive equipment manufacturer Sparco, the Subaru World Rally team has attracted fresh sponsorship partnerships from companies not usually associated with the sport – Norway’s Orkla Foods, and the global internet technology company NTT Communications.

The new sponsorship deals highlight the increasing value of the WRC as a global communication platform, especially when compared to other forms of motorsport. Run from January to November, the WRC season is four months longer than the Formula One calendar, and visits sixteen countries around the world. The spectacular settings, high speeds and wide variety of road conditions make it a unique and exciting spectacle. The first of the sixteen rallies that make up the 2005 WRC got underway last weekend in Monte Carlo.

Verio Europe, a subsidiary of NTT Communications, will use the partnership to showcase its range of on-line technology systems via the team’s website Visited by more than 160,000 fans during each rally, has 50,000 registered subscribers and is one of the most popular sites in the WRC. NTT Communications will use the Championship to reach a global audience of more than 2.5 million.

Capitalising on the popularity of the WRC and, in particular, Subaru driver Petter Solberg, Orkla Foods will use the team to promote its products, including the ‘Big One’ range of frozen pizzas. As part of the deal, Petter will feature in a Norwegian television campaign, and the company plans to launch limited edition, rally themed products in the region.

“The Subaru World Rally Team offers partners an exciting platform to enhance their brand awareness, build business and achieve marketing objectives in a dynamic, high profile environment to rival no other,” said the Subaru team’s commercial manager Colin Clark. “We’re very pleased to welcome the new partners into our fold.  All have seen tangible benefits from an association with one of the iconic teams in the World Rally Championship. We’ve put particular effort into securing support from Norwegian brands to make best use of the team’s, and of course Petter’s, profile in the Nordic region. This is an important first step for our team to secure additional sponsorship from a region where rallying is enjoying an explosion in popularity.”

Martin Davis, vice president for Verio Europe commented: “It’s an exciting new venture for us, but we believe Verio Europe and the Subaru World Rally Team are a perfect match. Both are leading innovators and global leaders in their fields and are wholly focused on three key competitive goals: power, performance and results.”

For further information and high resolution photographs contact Stephen Webb or Katie Tweedle at the SWRT Press Office:  GSM +44 (0) 7899 065 985  GSM +44 (0) 7736 392 532