UPBEAT ATKINSON FOCUSED ON ARGENTINA
Australia's Chris Atkinson is confident he can reshape the glimpses of speed shown aboard his Subaru Impreza WRC over the past few rounds into an overall result this weekend in the Rally of Argentina.
The South American event marks the start of the second half of the Championship and after four high temperature, rough gravel rallies, conditions this weekend will be distinctly different with mid-winter variables and possibly rain expected to greet competitors.
However the climatic changes won't phase the young Australian with the majority of his rallying to date being conducted during the Australian winter.
"The last couple of events have been frustrating due to a couple of technical issues and also a mistake made by me, so overall the results have been far from been ideal," said Atkinson.
"My objective in Argentina is to put in a solid performance and get the experience of the whole rally. I think I was a little over cautious with my opening pace in Greece, and I'm hoping to attack a bit more this weekend."
"Argentina seems like a very good rally. Once again it is a completely new event and they are all new stages to me. I haven't competed or even done recce here before."
"The road surface appears to be similar to what I have experienced in the Rally of Canberra when I competed in the Asia Pacific Championship. You never know, the experience I got there may help."
"From what I can gather the roads are quite soft and there will be a few ruts that will form but it is also very fast which will make it very interesting throughout the event."
Following the previous round of the Championship in Greece Atkinson and his West Australian co-driver Glenn Macneall returned to England before jetting out to the South of France for their first tarmac test in a WRC spec Subaru Impreza. The pair then headed to Wales shortly after for a day of testing on gravel early last week.
"During our recent testing we made some good improvements in the set up of the car and also with my driving. It has been good to have a fair bit of time in the car to give us a good lead up to this weekend," said Atkinson.
"The test was our first on gravel since the start of the year and hopefully we will reap the rewards from the testing this weekend and into the events coming up."
Atkinson arrived in Argentina yesterday and will spend today acclimatizing to the conditions before beginning reconnaissance over tomorrow and Wednesday. The pre-event shakedown will be held on Thursday morning with the event beginning that night at the Super Special Stage in the Pro Racing motorsport complex.
The crews will contest 22 stages across 340 competitive kilometres across the three legs of the event
Since debuting in the World Rally Championship with the Subaru World Rally Championship at the start of this year Atkinson has recorded three stage victories, 19 top five stage times and has finished 64 stages inside the top ten.
Last year's Rally of Argentina was won by Carlos Sainz ahead of Sebastien Loeb and Francois Duval. Atkinson's Subaru team-mate Petter Solberg held the early lead until a water-splash related engine problem brought his rally to a halt mid way through the opening day.
The time in Argentina is 13 hours behind AEST.