AP: Chris Atkinson Canberra preview

Atkinson Primed For Championship Defence Queensland driver Chris Atkinson will begin the defence of his Asia-Pacific Rally Championship in the Super 1600 class this weekend at the Subaru Rally of Canberra in the Australian Capital ...

Atkinson Primed For Championship Defence

Queensland driver Chris Atkinson will begin the defence of his Asia-Pacific Rally Championship in the Super 1600 class this weekend at the Subaru Rally of Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory.

During the 2002 Subaru Rally of Canberra Chris and co-driver Ben Atkinson stunned the rallying community climbing as high as fourth outright before mechanical failure forced them out of the event on the final day.

In the corresponding event last year Atkinson made his debut for the Monster Sport Australia Suzuki team in an impressive fashion taking out the Super 1600 class and finishing 10th outright. This was the start of his impressive debut season with the team.

"Last year was very much a learning experience driving the Suzuki for the first time and having to adapt to a left hand drive car so to win in Canberra on debut was a great result," said Atkinson.

"It was my first event with the team after only ever driving a right hand drive car so it took a bit of getting used to but I really enjoyed it and learnt a lot."

Atkinson has been impressive during the opening half of 2004 with his speed at the opening round of the Australian Rally Championship in Western Australia, the World Rally Championship Propecia Rally New Zealand event and the opening two rounds of the Chinese National Championship.

The 24-year-old Gold Coast driver is confident of another good showing this weekend and the high possibility upstaged many of the more fancied 4-wheel driver turbo powered cars aboard his Super 1600 Suzuki Ingnis.

"The Canberra rally is the rally that I have competed in the most with this begin my third and it is one of my favourite events with the roads being challenging but also very good," said Atkinson.

"They have also changed some of the stages which will keep it interesting.

"Last year the roads were very crumbly as they had huge fires in the area a few months before destroying a lot of the surrounding areas and this year I expected that they will be more compacted.

"With our International seeding from our Championship victory last year it means that we will be the seventh car on the road which will give us some good road to run on rather than it being all chopped up from other competitors."

Atkinson Racing has also entered the Subaru WRX Sti normally campaigned by the Atkinson brothers in the Australian Rally Championship to be driven by Japanese driver Toshihira Aria this weekend.

The 2004 Subaru Rally of Canberra will begin with the ceremonial start on Friday May 7 at Garema Place in Canberra, ACT.

-ar-

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Chris Atkinson , Ben Atkinson