Click for a hi-res gallery of the Subaru Impreza WRC2008

We're going to play this little game again. Close your eyes and think "rally". (Not picket lines and protest signs, but tail-sliding, dirt road heroics behind the wheel of turbocharged four-wheel-drive monsters.) Now what company comes to mind? If you're a sentimentalist you might be thinking Audi or Lancia, but anybody who hasn't been living in a cave for the last decade or so (with apologies to all our cave-dwelling readers) will almost invariably think of Subaru. Never mind that its WRC team hasn't been doing that well recently: pumped up Imprezas like the WRX and STI are nearly synonymous with rallying. But now reports indicate that Subaru is considering confusing us by entering to World Touring Car Championship.

The news is sparked by a forthcoming arrangement between the WRC and the WTCC that could see them adopting a common set of rules, not unlike the more practical Super 2000 formula that has both rally and touring car series. Now we're always encouraged by news of carmakers – especially ones with such well-established motorsport pedigrees – going racing, but we can't help but wonder if Subaru's venture onto paved tracks wouldn't confuse the message and dilute its hard-earned brand identity. Conversely, the oil-ification of the WTCC could give Subaru a chance to prove its mettle with its new diesel engines. Either way, execs from Fuji Heavy and Subaru Tecnica International are expected to visit the touring car championship when it visits Japan on October 24 to scope it out.

Just because we love you, our loyal readers, ever so much, here's a gallery of studio-quality, high-resolution images of Subaru's current rally contender.

[Source: TouringCarTimes]

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