WRC

Atkinson prepares for new ride

Atkinson Acclimatizes Before Jetting Out Australian rally driver Chris Atkinson jetted out of Brisbane this afternoon headed for Banbury in England where he will join the Subaru World Rally team for his campaign in 2005 World Rally ...

Atkinson Acclimatizes Before Jetting Out

Australian rally driver Chris Atkinson jetted out of Brisbane this afternoon headed for Banbury in England where he will join the Subaru World Rally team for his campaign in 2005 World Rally Championship.

Prior to jetting out today, Atkinson spent some time at the Surfers Paradise Snow World adapting to the colder conditions that he will endure in his WRC debut aboard a Subaru Impreza in Sweden during February.

The 25-year-old Queenslander will spend the next few weeks acclimatizing from the 30 degrees weather he has become accustomed to on the Gold Coast to the almost freezing temperatures of Europe over the coming months.

Throughout his childhood years Atkinson was a regular visitor to the snow with his family, however he openly admits that he has very little driving experience in such conditions.

"I've tested once on snow where I felt pretty comfortable, I think it will be more a case of adapting to the differences between a Group N car and a WRC car," said Atkinson.

"The entire year will certainly bring a lot of new experiences for me, the first coming early in the New Year when I have my first test in the car.

"It was a bit of fun to acclimatize this morning at Snow World, maybe I should have spent several days in there to ready myself for the temperatures I am about to endure overseas during the next few months."

Atkinson is the first Australian to become a full-time WRC driver and the first to contest any campaign since Michael Guest in 2000 who did three events in the now defunct F2 class and three (China, San Remo and Australia) in a Hyundai Accent WRC car.

Since the announcement that Atkinson would be joining the Subaru World Rally Team for 2005 was made two weeks ago, the Queenslander has been busy packing and saying his goodbyes to his friends and family.

"The opportunity I have been provided with is unreal, I can't thank everyone enough for their support, especially Subaru Australia and the entire Australian rallying community," said Atkinson.

"While I haven't found myself dwelling on what I am about to embark on I have had to pinch myself every now and again to give myself a reality check to realise that my wildest dreams are coming true," said Atkinson.

"Over the Christmas period I spent a lot of time with the family and my mates, as I won't be seeing much of any of them this year, nothing seemed any different to any other year, except for the fact that this year I am virtually following Santa Claus back to the North Pole."

"At the moment I am more anxious than nervous, once I am on the plane and have time to sit back and relax the realism of the opportunity that is in front of me will really hit home."

Atkinson will be joined by Glenn Macneall in the co-drivers seat for the 2005 campaign alongside the Subaru team's other drivers, Petter Solberg and Stephane Sarrazin and will test with the team for the first time early next month.

-Atkinson Racing

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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Stéphane Sarrazin , Petter Solberg , Chris Atkinson