Atkinson Shows Scintilating Speed in Japan

Queensland rally driver Chris Atkinson continued his scintillating speed in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) at the Rally of Japan last weekend finishing second outright aboard a front wheel drive 1600cc Suzuki.

With the event being run in conjunction with the World Rally Championship (WRC) round Atkinson was able to show his talent on the world stage. Atkinson shocked the WRC teams when he blasted his way inside the top ten on the second day of competition setting the eight fastest stage time on the fourth stage of the day.

"It was a great feeling to be so fast, but to be only two seconds a kilometre outside the pace of the WRC leader when we are in a little 1600 unreal," said Atkinson.

Atkinson was leading the APRC event late in the day before enduring a puncture in the same stage where he and his brother and co-driver Ben set the world alight earlier in the day.

"We were on track to better our time significantly from the morning pass before getting a puncture seven k's from the end which cost us 50 seconds and dropped us to third in the Asia Pacific standings," said Atkinson.

"From that point we focused on maintaining a good outright result in the both the WRC and Asia Pacific standings as the class victory was wrapped up providing we made it to the finish."

Despite the fact that the 24-year-old was driving the lesser powered two-wheel drive entry compared to the four wheel drive turbo cars he continually matched the times set by the leading APRC contenders.

In addition to claiming another dominant class win Atkinson, the defending APRC Super 1600 Champion, finished round four of the APRC an amazing second outright to elevate himself to third outright in the Championship.

He also finished 12th outright in the Rally Japan WRC event that was calculated the times from all three legs of Rally Japan.

"There was very little pressure in terms of outright speed this weekend, it was a case of going out there and showing what we can do, so that is what we did," said Atkinson.

"I think we surprised ourselves at time with our speed over the weekend, hopefully we can continue this into the final round of the Australian Championship next month to win the title."

Fellow Australians Dean Herridge and Cody Crocker finished Rally Japan in 11th and 14th respectively.

Atkinson will tomorrow head to Great Britain where he will conduct the reconnaissance for the WRC round before returning to prepare himself for the final round of the Globalstar Australian Rally Championship at the NGK Rally of Melbourne on October 1-3.

Asia Pacific Rally Championship
Round Four -- Rally Japan
Top 5
1. Karamit Singh (Proton)
2. Chris Atkinson (Suzuki)
3. Geof Argyle (Mitsubishi
4. Armin Kremer (Mitsubishi)
5. Vesa Mikkola (Suzuki)

Asia Pacific Rally Championship Points
After Four of Six Rounds
1. Karamit Singh (Proton) -- 48 points
2. Armin Kremer (Mitsubishi) -- 38
3. Chris Atkinson (Suzuki) -- 27
4. Geof Argyle (Mitsubishi - 25
5. Katsuhiko Taguchi (Mitsubishi) - 22

Rally Japan
World Rally Championship outright results
Top 15
1. Petter Solberg (Subaru)
2. Sebastian Loeb (Citreon) +1:13.3
3. Markko Martin (Ford) +1:43.3
4. Marcus Gronholm (Peugeot) +2:17.9
5. Carlos Sainz (Citreon) +2:31.0
6. H arri Rovanpera (Peugeot) +7:26.2
7. Mikko Hirvonen (Subaru) +9:06.5
8. Antony Warmbold (Ford) +18:14.7
9. Toshihiro Arai (Subaru) + 18:15.4
10. Kamada Takuma (Subaru) +21:51.2
11. Dean Herridge (Subaru) +22:45.2
12. Chris Atkinson (Suzuki) +23:35.4
13. Ishida Masayuki (Mitsubishi) +24:14.4
14. Cody Crocker (Subaru) +24:38.5
15. Yanahisawa Hiroshi (Subaru) +25:19.6