Australian Chris Atkinson has put in an impressive performance aboard his Subaru Impreza WRC during the opening leg in the Rally of Argentina to finish the opening day of competition inside the top ten. Despite heavy overnight rain and low ...
Australian Chris Atkinson has put in an impressive performance aboard his Subaru Impreza WRC during the opening leg in the Rally of Argentina to finish the opening day of competition inside the top ten.
Despite heavy overnight rain and low temperatures making it tough for competitors, Atkinson and his West Australian co-driver Glenn Macneall maintained their composure to set times inside the top ten in seven of the eight stages contested in the region surrounding Cordoba to finish the day in ninth position.
Due to his seeding for the event, Atkinson was the 11th driver to tackle today's stages on road conditions that had changed significantly since the crews completed the pre-event reconnaissance courtesy of the overnight rain.
"For my first rally in Argentina I'm very happy. I'm pleased with the times that I set although the roads were damp and rutted up pretty badly. I think the guys at the front had a bit of an advantage today as the roads were quite loose, and chopped up a bit." said Atkinson.
After being forced out of the opening leg in the previous four events for a variety of reasons today's results has provided Atkinson with a timely confidence boost with two days of competition remaining in the event.
"I felt comfortable in the car and am happy with the handling, the car is giving me confidence and it's doing everything I want it to," said Atkinson.
"The roads were rougher than we hoped, but our pace has still been good. I had a bit of a moment in the last stage today when I took a 200kph jump on slightly the wrong line and landed in the gutter - I was a bit more cautious through the rest of that stage!"
"There's still two long days to go and the stages are faster, and hopefully smoother. I want to stick with Duval and those other drivers who have much more experience."
Atkinson's Subaru team-mate Petter Solberg, who led after last night's pair of super special stages, is currently in second place 31.3 behind defending World Champion Sebastien Loeb in his Citroen. Marcus Gronholm is third.
Of the ten stages already contested in the event Loeb has won six. Solberg and Gronholm have both set the fastest time on two occasions.