CONSERVATIVE APPROACH EARNS ATKINSON TOP FIVE ON DAY ONE Continuing on from his impressive debut with the Subaru World Rally Team in Sweden last month Australian Chris Atkinson used a conservative approach to be in fifth position at the end of...
CONSERVATIVE APPROACH EARNS ATKINSON TOP FIVE ON DAY ONE
Continuing on from his impressive debut with the Subaru World Rally Team in Sweden last month Australian Chris Atkinson used a conservative approach to be in fifth position at the end of today's opening leg of the 2005 Corona Rally Mexico.
While his main focus for the weekend is to learn the characteristics of the new Subaru Impreza WRC2005, today's performance by Atkinson was impressive as the 25-year-old continually outpaced many of his more experienced rivals and setting times inside the top ten on every stage of the day.
Atkinson's best stage time of the day came in the opening stage of the event where he set a career best third fastest stage time. His time was just over five seconds behind Subaru team-mate Petter Solberg who set the fastest time over the 22.56 kilometres.
"Entering the event I thought we could be somewhere around the top six at the end of the opening day if we had a good run, while today's performance was not perfect it is nice to be where we are with such high quality drivers around you," said Atkinson.
"Overall it has been a very interesting day while working to learn more about a driving a WRC car. The opening two stages were very good today but even in those I made a couple of little mistakes, the main aim is to continue to learn from those mistakes before worrying about the overall times."
Atkinson will take the same steady approach into tomorrow's second leg that consists of six stages across a total of 73.24 competitive kilometres.
"We will be taking the same sort of attack into tomorrow's second leg and I am confident that we will be able to find some more speed in the car and in myself without taking too many risks," said Atkinson.
"The speed we are carrying at the moment is very comfortable and is not like we are going too fast, but you can make a mistake very easily which can cost you a lot of time. I am still adapting to the WRC car and getting the most out of my driving style.
"While it is good to be where we are at the moment, there are still another two days to go. Our main focus is get to the end put in some good stage times to get the experience we came here for. If everything goes well and we are in this position, or better, at the end of the weekend it is a bonus."
Atkinson's team-mate Petter Solberg leads the event by 20.5 seconds ahead of Marcos Gronholm and Markko Martin.
Tomorrow's second leg begins at 9:43am (AEDST 2:43am Sun) with Atkinson and his West Australian co-driver Glenn Macneall set to be the 11th car to begin the leg.