Last weekend Australian rally sensation Chris Atkinson competed in the Neste Rally Finland with his brother Ben as co-driver aboard a Subaru WRX Sti prepared by Tommi Makinen Racing supported by Telstra Rally Australia. Please find below quotes...
Last weekend Australian rally sensation Chris Atkinson competed in the Neste Rally Finland with his brother Ben as co-driver aboard a Subaru WRX Sti prepared by Tommi Makinen Racing supported by Telstra Rally Australia.
Please find below quotes from four time World Rally Champion Tommi Makinen and Subaru General Manager Group N project Sti George Donaldson.
Four time World Rally Champion, Four time Rally Monte Carlo Winner, Five Time Rally Finland Winner
"It was a very very positive performance from a first time young driver on roads that are very different to Australia. Chris was very very quick straight away and made very fast stage times a good example of this was the Ounipohja stage which many Finnish drivers know very well.
Very good performance, I think we have a future driver from Australia for the World Championship.
We are currently discussing the opportunities to race in the production car Championship.
Before the rally I knew very little about Chris apart from the fact that he had shown some good speed in Australia this year.
It was very important that he had good stage times and get the experience from this rally then gain as much experience as possible before making the next step."
Subaru General Manager Group N project Sti
"I have been looking at Chris all year and monitoring his performance. I have been trying to judge if he is one of those drivers who will reach a plateau or continue to strive to always be on the improve, he has continued to show skill and definitely not plateaued.
He has shown that he has got potential and broken through the performance barrier. Ounipohja is one of the toughest in the World Rally Championship and the fastest, it is difficult to drive so to get the second fastest Group N time in this stage is exceptional. It is performances like this that highlights his ability and positive future.
Chris didn't put a foot wrong throughout the weekend, however he also didn't drive flawlessly. He learnt what he had to do from his mistakes and learnt the Finnish experience. He had pitfalls but survived and proved his competitiveness. The car had some problems over the weekend but Chris dealt with these problems and didn't lose concentration on the job at hand.
Chris has proven himself in more ways than he has realized and has grown and immense amount. He has worked very hard and measured himself well.
From a professional team managers point of view this kind of performance was not expected from this car. He exceeded my expectations by a considerable margin."
Atkinson returns to Australia on Friday morning before preparing for the fifth round of the Globalstar Australian Rally Championship at the Premier State Rally on August 27-29.