Atkinson Begins Championship Defence In A Winning Way Reigning Asia-Pacific Super 1600 Champion Chris Atkinson began his Championship defence in a winning way at the Subaru Rally of Canberra over the weekend taking the victory in the Super 1600...
Atkinson Begins Championship Defence In A Winning Way
Reigning Asia-Pacific Super 1600 Champion Chris Atkinson began his Championship defence in a winning way at the Subaru Rally of Canberra over the weekend taking the victory in the Super 1600 class and finishing a very creditable 10th outright.
Such was the pace shown by the Gold Coast driver in his Suzuki Ignis 1600 Atkinson also finished fourth of the Asia-Pacific Championship registered drivers.
It was the first event that Atkinson had reunited with the Monster Sport Australia Suzuki factory back team since claiming the Championship late last year but it didn't take long before Chris and co-driver brother Ben clicked into gear with the team and re-adapted to the lesser powered front wheel - left hand drive Suzuki.
Atkinson led the Super 1600 class from the outset and never seemed to be challenged. His main challenge was to see how high he could finish overall and to continually push for improving stage times.
"We pushed pretty hard all weekend racing ourselves against the clock and continually looking for improvement," said Atkinson.
"The conditions of the roads were quite sandy and rough which really didn't suit our car too much but we just kept the car wound up."
Throughout the weekend the 24-year-old Queenslander bubbled in and out of the top 10 overall exchanging stage times with the higher powered 4wd turbo powered cars.
Not even a roll over on stage 12 (the third stage of day two) could stop Atkinson.
"The car got up on two wheels and went over very softly," said Atkinson.
"Luckily it came straight back on it's wheels and I was able to restart it straight away and we didn't lose too much time. On that stage we were still 11th fastest."
While Atkinson's Suzuki endured some minor damage the Monster Sport Australia team were able to repair the car on the next service and he didn't seem to lose any pace throughout the remaining stages continuing on to finish the event in 10th overall.
Japanese driver Toshihira Aria competed in the Atkinson Racing prepared Suabru WRX Sti in the event finishing third outright. Dean Herridge took the outright victory ahead of Juha Kangas.
The Asia-Pacific Championship will continue at the Rallye de Nouvelle Caledonie on May 29/30.