Dominating Home Win for Atkinson
Gold Coast driver Chris Atkinson became the first Queensland driver in 13 years to capture their home rally at the Caloundra Falken Tyres Rally Queensland today.
Atkinson, 24, finished second in the opening leg yesterday to begin his fightback from the bottom of the Championship table after being excluded following his victory in the opening round due a mechanical technicality.
Atkinson set the Imbil forest alight this morning with his co-driver and brother Ben the pair set some scintillating times to establish a creditable 20-second lead within the opening two stages.
"After yesterday we knew we had good speed over these stages and the key was to get a good lead as early as possible today," said Atkinson.
"While the stages were very tight and technical we knew that if we pushed hard early it would be tough for someone to close the gap later in the day.
"The roads were a little slippery after some overnight rain but the car handled the conditions great, as can be seen by the times."
During the middle two stages of the day Atkinson consolidated his lead by winning his seventh stage of the rally, in the process extending his lead to almost 25-seconds.
Behind Atkinson a close fought battled raged between his Subaru teammates Dean Herridge and Cody Crocker with Championship leader Simon Evans along with Juha Kangas for second place.
The buffer he had built throughout the early part of the day allowed Atkinson to drive conservatively over the final two stages and claim the heat victory by 14.3 seconds over Crocker.
Today's heat victory added to his second yesterday enabled Atkinson to claim the overall win and in the process becoming the first Queensland driver to win the event since Murray Coote in 1991.
"It is fantastic to win my home rally, after WA this victory is even sweeter," said Atkinson.
"After being the pacesetter in the opening round you have a different attitude heading into a rally because you know that you have the speed, it's just about everything right on the day.
"This weekend everything was perfect."
Atkinson's win also rewrote the record books with the 24-year-old becoming the youngest ever winner of a round in the Globalstar Australian Rally Championship.
The victory also lifted Atkinson well up in the Championship standings to sixth position on 37 points. Simon Evans leads on 65 points followed by Cody Crocker (50) and Scott Pedder (40).
Atkinson's win also elevated Subaru to the top of the Manufacturers Championship.
The next round of the Globalstar Australian Rally Championship will be held in Tasmania in three weeks time on June 25-27.
Caloundra Falken Tyres Rally Queensland
Overall Results (Top 10)
1. Chris Atkinson (Subaru) 1:04:29.6
2. Cody Crocker (Subaru) +14.8
3. Simon Evans (Toyota) +35.9
4. Neal Bates (Toyota) +54.1
5. Ed Ordynski (Mitsubishi) +1:34.6
6. Dean Herridge (Subaru) +2:53.5
7. Mark Pedder (Mitsubishi) +3:30.3
8. Jack Monkhouse (Mitsubishi) +4:20.7
9. Brett Comber (Mitsubishi) +5:42.4
10. Michael Thompson (Subaru) +6:09.3
Globalstar Australian Rally Championship
After Two Rounds (Top 10)
1. Simon Evans (Toyota) 65
2. Cody Crocker (Subaru) 50
3. Scott Pedder (Mitsubishi) 44
4. Dean Herridge (Subaru) 40
4. Neal Bates (Toyota) 40
6. Chris Atkinson (Subaru) 37
7. Ed Ordynski (Mitsubishi) 28
8. Juha Kangas (Mitsubishi) 22
9. Brad Go! ldsbrough (Subaru) 16
10. Mark Thompson (Mitsubishi) 8
1. Subaru 182
2. Mitsubishi 152
3. Toyota 110