WRC

Rally Mexico: Chris Atkinson preview

ATKINSON READY FOR THE NEXT CHALLENGE After his stunning debut in the FIA World Rally Championship with the Subaru World Rally Team on the icy roads of Sweden last month, Australian Chris Atkinson is now preparing for his next challenge, the ...

ATKINSON READY FOR THE NEXT CHALLENGE

After his stunning debut in the FIA World Rally Championship with the Subaru World Rally Team on the icy roads of Sweden last month, Australian Chris Atkinson is now preparing for his next challenge, the Corona Rally of Mexico.

In another run of firsts, Atkinson will debut the new Subaru Impreza WRC2005 car this weekend while also being nominated as a points scoring driver in the manufacturers' Championship for the team alongside 2003 World Champion Petter Solberg.

However, this added responsibility doesn't phase the 25-year-old as he heads into his first gravel event with the team.

"By the end of the Sweden event I began to feel very comfortable in the WRC car and have since had a few more days testing which has given me more confidence with the car," said Atkinson.

"After not being nominated for manufacturer points in Sweden, it gave me a licence to really find the limits of the car, which I stepped over a couple of times, but that event was all about learning and getting some good stage times. This weekend in Mexico there will be a different agenda - get to the finish in the best position, while again continuing to learn and set some good stage times.

"While it is the first event where I have been nominated for manufacturers points, I won't be changing my approach to the event. It will once again be all about learning and getting a good overall result."

Unlike the tricky snow covered roads of Sweden, the Mexican event will be contested on a gravel surface which Atkinson is more familiar with. The surface, added to the fact that last year's event was the first Mexican event in the Championship, fills Atkinson with further confidence of a strong result.

"The roads in Mexico are mostly mid to high speed roads on a very hard base, which really suits my driving style. While it isn't the same as Australia I think that there will be some familiarities between the roads I have competed on before," said Atkinson.

"This weekend's entry list doesn't have as much depth as it did in Sweden but this weekend is more about improving and focusing on gaining some manufacturers points for Subaru."

The Corona Rally Mexico will be contested by 44 crews from 17 nations. It begins on Thursday night with the ceremonial start followed by three days of action in the area surrounding Leon.

Markko Martin won the inaugural round of the FIA World Rally Championship in Mexico last year followed by Francois Duval and Carlos Sainz.

-ar-

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