Career First Victory For Atkinson in Australian Rally Championship Gold Coast rally driver Chris Atkinson claimed the opening round of the Globalstar Australian Rally Championship at the Respect Yourself Forest Rally in Western Australia ...
Career First Victory For Atkinson in Australian Rally Championship
Gold Coast rally driver Chris Atkinson claimed the opening round of the Globalstar Australian Rally Championship at the Respect Yourself Forest Rally in Western Australia today.
At 24 the victory has Chris resetting the record books to become the youngest winner of a Super Series Round since the inception of the Championship.
Although Chris and his co-driver, brother Ben claimed the victory by 21.7 seconds it didn't come easy for the Gold Coast pair enduring numerous obstacles throughout the weekend.
During the opening heat yesterday the pair led by a comfortable margin before hitting a rut in the road forcing him off the road and into a tree on the last forest stage of the day. Despite limping through the final two stages with damaged suspension on the Subaru the he held on to second place.
""We were taking it easy, I didn't want to throw away the win, we arrived at a braking point that was quite rutted, the car bounced out and we went straight on into the tree," said Atkinson.
Entering today's final heat determined to finish the job and take the victory Atkinson left no stone unturned pushing the Prodrive prepared Subaru WRX Sti to the limit chasing his first victory in the Championship.
The task was made harder for Atkinson when he was slowed for up to 10 seconds when he was the first car to come across a stricken Mitsubishi Lancer driven by Mark Pedder that had rolled.
Over the final half of the second heat Atkinson was engulfed in a titanic battle with Scott Pedder and Toyota's Simon Evans with the three drivers exchanging the fastest stage times.
When Pedder suffered mechanical failure with two stages remaining it opened the door for Atkinson to claim the victory with a handy buffer and only two stages remaining.
Despite some intense pressure from Evans over the closing stages Atkinson showed maturity beyond his years to hold on for the victory.
"I've amazed myself, it is incredible and a dream come true," said Atkinson.
"We knew we had to come out fighting today because we Simon (Evans), Scott (Pedder) and the rest of the field were going to throw everything at us.
"All weekend we were right on the pace with the right tyre BF Goodrich tyres and our brand new Subaru didn't miss a beat."
Second behind Atkinson was Evans followed by Scott Pedder. Reigning Champion Cody Crocker failed to finish after suffering engine problems.
Globalstar Australian Rally Championship Round 1
Respect Yourself Forest Rally, Western Australia
1. Chris Atkinson/Ben Atkinson (Subaru)
2. Scott Pedder/Paul Humm (Mitsubishi)
3. Simon Evans/Sue Evans (Toyota)
4. Neil Bates/Coral Taylor (Toyota)
5. Juha Kangas/Julia Rabbett (Mitsubishi)
6. Dean Herridge/Glenn McNeal (Subaru)