WRC

Rally New Zealand: Chris Atkinson preview

Atkinson Ready For WRC Debut in New Zealand Over the past three years Chris Atkinson has propelled himself into the Rally spotlight with his brother, Ben as his Co-driver. Later this week the pair will begin their next challenge when they make...

Atkinson Ready For WRC Debut in New Zealand

Over the past three years Chris Atkinson has propelled himself into the Rally spotlight with his brother, Ben as his Co-driver. Later this week the pair will begin their next challenge when they make their World Rally Championship (WRC) debut in New Zealand competing in the Propecia Rally New Zealand.

Competing in the Group N category aboard their Prodrive built Subaru WRX Sti the Gold Coast pair are looking forward to what they refer to the "next challenge" in their rally career.

Continuing to show maturity beyond his 24 years of age Chris is focused on putting the technicality that excluded him from the opening round of the Australian Championship behind him.

"We have always been focusing on the next step and this is no different, our aim has always been to achieving our goals of a World junior driver or a production drive in the WRC next year, " said Atkinson.

"While the decision may have cost us an Australian Championship we are now focusing on the big picture."

Although this weekend is their WRC debut the pair have competed across the Tasman once before during last year's Asia Pacific Championship competing the Parker-ENZED Rally of Rotorua where they failed to finish the opening leg after running off the road and getting bogged. They did recover to win the final leg in the Super 1600 class.

"Although it was a completely different Rally you still got a feel for the type of roads around the area," said Atkinson.

"We were also in the front wheel drive Suzuki when we competed over there last year that requires a completely different driving style but has done more to help than hinder my driving.

"This weekend is all about gaining more experience at the highest level of rallying and hopefully opening some eyes of the factory teams that will be there."

The Propecia Rally New Zealand begins on Thursday evening at the 2.10km Manukau Super Special Stage continuing on Friday to complete the 211.13 competitive kilometres of Leg One.

Leg's Two and Three of the Propecia Rally New Zealand will be completed across Saturday and Sunday with the final Special Stage to be held at Whaanga Coast followed by a ceremonial finish at the America's Cup Village in Auckland to complete the 1,297.81km Rally.

In total there is 58 entries in the Propecia Rally New Zealand including 37 Group N competitors. Atkinson and his Subaru counterparts Cody Crocker and Dean Herridge are the only three Australian's to be competing in the event, all in the Group N category.

Marcus Gronholm won the 2003 event ahead of Richard Burns and Petter Solberg. Malaysian Karamjit Singh took out the Group N honours.

-bam-

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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Richard Burns , Marcus Gronholm , Petter Solberg , Karamjit Singh , Chris Atkinson , Dean Herridge , Cody Crocker