Atkinson takes stage win at Rally Mexico
In his return World Rally Championship event Chris Atkinson has scored the Monster World Rally Team their first ever stage win on the final test of Day1 here at Rally Mexico.
The stage win is Atkinson’s WRC career 41st and the fastest time has put the Gold Coaster in high spirits after a challenging opening day which sees him currently lie eighth overall.
“It’s great I could grab a stage win for the Monster team and it’s given me a real buzz and the sensations I used to feel when we were regularly setting fastest times back in 2008 are coming back,” commented Atkinson.
“Today has been tough. I have been learning how to drive a new era of world rally car and just now starting to get used to it but we changed some things with setup before the final two stages and won the last one so things are looking up for tomorrow.”
Atkinson’s WRC return got off to a less than desirable start when he picked up a puncture halfway through the 23.69 kilometre Ortega 1 stage.
“The puncture certainly wasn’t ideal and we probably lost about 40 seconds to the leaders which has slotted us back down the order.
“The goal coming here is to produce competitive stage times and aim for a top-5 finish which isn’t too far away and there is plenty of rallying left over the next two days.
“I’m feeling good after the stage win tonight and tomorrow we’ll give it a red hot solid go to try and push for that extra pace and places in the overall standings.”
The 2012 MWRT livery features heavy branding from naming rights sponsor Monster Energy and the company that Block co-founded, DC Shoes.
Atkinson’s car also features support and branding from two Australian backers in Twin Village Shopping and Speedcafe.com.
Frenchman Sebastien Loeb leads Rally Mexico from Citroen team-mate Mikko Hirvonen after 12 demanding stages today.
Day 2 is certainly the toughest, with drivers facing a massive 183.30km of competitive action during more than 13 hours behind the wheel. Stages are based closer to Rally HQ in León and includes two passes over the massive 41.88km Otates test.