WRC

Rally Australia: Chris Atkinson Shakedown summary

ATKINSON CONFIDENT AFTER SHAKEDOWN Subaru's Chris Atkinson's will enter this weekend's Telstra Rally Australia, the final round of the World Rally Championship, full of confidence following an impressive performance during the final shakedown...

ATKINSON CONFIDENT AFTER SHAKEDOWN

Subaru's Chris Atkinson's will enter this weekend's Telstra Rally Australia, the final round of the World Rally Championship, full of confidence following an impressive performance during the final shakedown (practice) in Western Australian today.

Atkinson, 25, burst onto the international scene during the corresponding event last year with a superb effort aboard a Group N (production) specification Subaru Impreza dominating the class and finishing an amazing fifth outright.

The young Australian joined the Subaru World Rally Team at the start of the year alongside 2003 World Champion Petter Solberg and has recorded a best finish of third in Japan last month. He has also finished inside the top ten in five events across the globe throughout his debut year.

During this morning's final shakedown Atkinson and West Australian co-driver Glenn Macneall was the fourth fastest crew across the four-kilometre stage contested near Mundaring, approximately 40kms east of Perth.

"Today's shakedown has given some more confidence for the rally with the Subaru feeling the best it has all year. The team has made some improvements to the set up of the car since the last gravel rally in Japan where I finished on the podium and I am confident of another good result here," said Atkinson.

"I think our time today was a true indication of our pace but to match it with the top three guys in the world, Sebastien Loeb, Petter (Solberg) and Marcus Gronholm, over three days on roads they know very well is going to be tough. In saying that though we will certainly be going flat out to try and stay with them."

Gronholm set the fastest time in today's shakedown aboard his Peugeot ahead of Solberg, Daniel Carlsson and Atkinson.

Telstra Rally Australia begins this evening with a pair of 2.35km Super Special stages around Gloucester Park before the opening leg continues tomorrow morning in the Western Australian state forests.

Last year's event was won by dual World Champion Sebastien Loeb ahead of Harri Rovanpera and Francois Duval.

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