Queensland rally driver Chris Atkinson became the first driver to claim two victories in the 2004 Globalstar Australian Rally Championship when he took out the Coopers Rally SA in the Mount Crawford forest near Adelaide today. After finishing ...
Queensland rally driver Chris Atkinson became the first driver to claim two victories in the 2004 Globalstar Australian Rally Championship when he took out the Coopers Rally SA in the Mount Crawford forest near Adelaide today.
After finishing fourth in the opening heat yesterday the 24-year-old Gold Coaster steered his Prodrive prepared Subaru WRX Sti into a commanding position early today to open a commanding lead within the opening two stages today.
With early morning fog hampering vision the tactics by the team fitting fog lights to the Atkinson Racing Subaru no doubt assisted Atkinson's performance.
Atkinson also relied on the precise pace notes called by his co-driver and brother Ben in the thick fog to win the opening stage of the day. This stage win was Atkinson's 20th for the year, five more than anyone else in the Championship at that stage of the event.
"After being a little conservative yesterday we came out determined to make up for lost ground during today's early stages," said Chris Atkinson.
"We pushed harder but I was driving smoother, it was a concerted effort to ensure the car stayed as straight as possible in the slippery conditions and open a gap early in the day."
By the sixth of the ten stages held throughout the day Atkinson had extended his lead to in excess of 26 seconds.
The only concern was a deep water splash on the fourth to last stage where the Atkinson's lost over 10 seconds yesterday, today however was a different story negotiating the treacherous section successfully.
"Prior to our final service we were informed that of the second of the two water splashes could cause a serious concern for us," said Atkinson.
"It ended up being less severe than what we thought so we continued our flat out approach, this time without any trouble and went on to win the stage."
Over the closing stages Atkinson remained content with his lead and held on for the victory, his second for the year after the dominating victory in round two of the Championship in Queensland.
"Just like Queensland we were a little slow out of the blocks yesterday but last night we had a think about our tactics then regrouped and came out very determined this morning," said Atkinson.
"I think this determined attitude really showed in the way we came out and attacked this morning."
Such was Atkinson's pace that he once again set the fastest stage times on more occasions than any other driver to claim the bonus point taking his weekend tally to 33. Juha Kangas finished second narrowly ahead on a time countback over his team mate Ed Ordynski with the pair both finishing on 30 points.
Atkinson's victory elevated him to fourth in the Championship on 85 points. Crocker remains in the lead on 108 ahead of Kangas on 92. Third is Dean Herridge on 86 with Simon Evans fifth on 83.
Immediately after the flying finish of the event the Atkinson pair climbed out of their Subaru Impreza WRX Sti and headed straight for Adelaide Airport where he jetted out to Helsinki where he begins testing with Tommi Makinen Racing for the Neste Rally Finland on Tuesday morning.
"It's kind of surreal that you climb out of a car, jump on a plane travel half way around the world and virtually the next thing you do when you land is jump aboard a Subaru," said Atkinson.
The Neste Rally Finland is one of the world's longest standing rallies. This year's event begins on Friday August 6 and is based in the bustling student town of Jyvaskyla, located in the lake district area of central Finland.
Atkinson has been assisted to compete in the World Rally Championship round at the Neste Rally Finland courtesy of the valuable support from Telstra Rally Australia, DMS shock absorbers, BF Goodrich Tires, Network TEN and Qantas.
<pre> Coopers Pale Ale Rally SA Overall Results -- Top 5
1. Chris Atkinson Subaru 33 points 2. Ed Ordynski Mitsubishi 30 3. Juha Kangas Mitsubishi 30 4. Cody Crocker Subaru 26 5. Dean Herridge Subaru 22
GLOBALSTAR AUSTRALIAN RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP After 4 of 6 rounds
1. Cody Crocker Subaru 108 2. Juha Kangas Mitsubishi 92 3. Dean Herridge Subaru 86 4. Chris Atkinson Subaru 85 5. Simon Evans Toyota 83