Atkinson Primed For Finland Fling Australia's rising rally star Chris Atkinson is readying himself for one of the biggest events in his career when he joins Tommi Makinen Racing for the next round of the World Rally Championship (WRC) at Neste...
Atkinson Primed For Finland Fling
Australia's rising rally star Chris Atkinson is readying himself for one of the biggest events in his career when he joins Tommi Makinen Racing for the next round of the World Rally Championship (WRC) at Neste Rally Finland next weekend, August 6-8.
The 24-year-old Queensland native will jet out to Helsinki airport on Sunday evening fresh from the fourth round of the Globalstar Australia Rally Championship in South Australia where he is competing this weekend.
Already this year Atkinson has competed across New Zealand, New Caledonia, China and Australia with his brother Ben as Co-driver.
In Finland the pair will be competing in a Tommi Makinen Racing prepared Group N spec Subaru WRX Sti.
Their 2004 campaign includes the defense of their Asia-Pacific Super 1600 Championship, WRC Rally New Zealand event, selected rounds of the Chinese National and Australian Championship's.
While the Atkinson pair haven't competed in Finland before they undertook the reconnaissance for the event as a part of the Factory Suzuki team.
"When you get an opportunity to be a part of a team to do a rally or even a reccy you never knock it back, you never know when you may need to use the knowledge that you gain," said Atkinson.
"By learning the roads slightly during reccy last year it has given us a little bit of confidence knowing that they are using a similar course this year.
"The roads are regarded as some of the toughest in world rallying with crest on crest and corner after corner, I am really looking forward to the challenge."
Atkinson's entry into the Neste Rally Finland continues his meteoric rise towards the pinnacle of world rallying since beginning his rallying career a mere four years ago in a local rally in Queensland aboard a 1972 Toyota Corolla.
In 2002 he claimed the Australian Privateers Championship and continued this winning form claiming the Asia Pacific Super 1600 Championship last year.
During the opening half of 2004 Atkinson has set the Australian rally scene alight setting the pace throughout the first three rounds.
He has won more stages than any other driver in the Championship crossing the line first in West Australia and claiming the victory in Queensland. He was also leading the Tasmanian round prior to running off the road with a handful of stages remaining.
After departing Adelaide on Sunday evening Atkinson will land in Helsinki at 9pm Monday night before taking the three hour drive to Jyvaskyla.
The following morning he begins testing with Tommi Makinen Racing for his debut in the Neste Rally Finland.
Atkinson has been assisted to compete in the World Rally Championship round at the Neste Rally Finland courtesy of the valuable support from Telstra Rally Australia, DMS shock absorbers, BF Goodrich, Network TEN and Qantas.
Telstra Rally Australia will be held 11-14 November 2004 in Perth and surrounding areas. This year is the first year that Telstra Rally Australia will be the final round of the 16 round FIA World Rally Championship.