In rallying terms it’s been a long time since Chris Atkinson was behind the wheel of the Hyundai i20 WRC, but he is very much looking forward to grabbing his opportunity at Rally Australia (11–14 September) with both hands.
“There’s been a bit of a gap between events but that hasn’t stopped me before and I’ll definitely give it a good crack,” Atkinson promised in an interview with wrc.com. “My aim is to drive well all weekend and be as fast as possible. I’ll be happy with that.”
Surprisingly, Atkinson doesn’t have any racing experience on the roads around Coffs Harbour where Rally Australia takes place. However, he doesn’t expect that will hinder his performance.
“It’s all new because I’ve never done the rally there.” Atkinson said. “But I should have a good idea about the terrain and fast gravel suits me. Knowing the nature of the Australian roads should play into my hands. I just need to write some good pace notes and drive to them.”
Atkinson will race alongside Hyundai’s lead driver Thierry Neuville and young Kiwi ace Hayden Paddon, who has earned himself some quality seat time in the WRC this year, driving the i20 WRC for three events in a row in Italy, Poland and Finland. In contrast Atkinson has only Rally Mexico to add to his WRC career and knows it will be key to do well against Paddon.
“Hayden’s obviously driving well and has been given a good opportunity with the team. But I’ve got more experience of the WRC. It’s going to be interesting and I’m sure he’ll be quick. I just need to pull my finger out and go as fast as I can.”