Chris Atkinson Steps up 2004 Rally Commitments Young Queensland rally driver Chris Atkinson will compete for Atkinson Racing in the entire 2004 Globalstar Australian Rally Championship (ARC) aboard a 2004 Prodrive built Subaru Impreza WRX STi.
Chris Atkinson Steps up 2004 Rally Commitments
Young Queensland rally driver Chris Atkinson will compete for Atkinson Racing in the entire 2004 Globalstar Australian Rally Championship (ARC) aboard a 2004 Prodrive built Subaru Impreza WRX STi. Atkinson will also compete in Rally Australia and Rally New Zealand aboard the car.
These commitments in the ARC, Rally Australia and New Zealand are in addition to his Super 1600 program where he will be vying for victory in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC).
Atkinson enters this year with high expectations following on from his success over the past two years that has included victory in the 2002 Australian Privateers Cup and the 2003 Super 1600 APRC, both with his brother Ben as Co-driver.
"This will be our fourth year of rallying and we have gained a huge amount of experience in that short time. We have an awesome car and crew, and excellent support from Subaru, Powerstation appliances, DMS and BF Goodrich tyres, so I have no excuses for not getting the results throughout the year," says Chris.
Since the car arrived via plane into Brisbane on Tuesday Chris and the team have been busily preparing for its debut this weekend in the KCF Short Course Rally held just North of Brisbane in the area surrounding Jimna.
Following this weekend's action the team will begin their testing program in preparation for the first round of the Globalstar ARC in Western Australia on March 27/28. As a part of this testing and development Chris will compete in the opening round of the Chinese National Rally Championship on March 13/14 aboard a 2003 Subaru WRX STi.
By competing in the Chinese Championship it provides Chris with more international experience and also a further opportunity to adapt to the new Subaru prior to the opening round of the ARC. "The Group N cars have come a long way, even since we won the Privateers Cup in 2002," says Team Manager John Atkinson.
John visited the Prodrive facility late last year, where Subaru's World Rally Cars are built. He witnessed the quality of the cars and said: "Our new car is almost identical to the Prodrive Subaru that won the 2003 Production World Rally Championship (PWRC), so I'm sure we have made the right decision."
While his focus is currently on his plans for 2004 Chris has set his sights on either a Production WRC or Junior WRC drive in 2005. With the competition in the Globalstar ARC as good as anywhere in the world he is a good chance of achieving his aims. "If I can match it with the top guys in Australia in Group N, being only 24 years of age, I stand a good chance of taking the next step. Importantly the new car is left hand drive, which is critical to come to grips with if you have international aspirations," Chris enthused.
Subaru Australia General Manager Nick Senior, said: "We are firm supporters of young talent in Australian rallying and this is the latest step in pursuing that policy.
"It demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the sport and we now have the youngest average age of any manufacturer team.
"Just like Cody Crocker and Dean Herridge, Chris represents an excellent prospect. We aim to present him with every opportunity to prove his credentials in what we firmly believe is the most demanding form of motor sport in Australia.
"Chris and Ben will be our third nominated car for manufacturers points in the Globalstar ARC.
"That makes for a strong, young, vibrant and talented Subaru trio."