WRC

Rally of Turkey: Chris Atkinson preview

ATKINSON REFRESHED AND READY FOR TURKEY TEST Since beginning his World Rally Championship career with the Subaru World Rally Team in Sweden during February Chris Atkinson's life has been full steam ahead jetting across the globe over the last...

ATKINSON REFRESHED AND READY FOR TURKEY TEST

Since beginning his World Rally Championship career with the Subaru World Rally Team in Sweden during February Chris Atkinson's life has been full steam ahead jetting across the globe over the last three months to contest five rounds of the WRC.

Over the past two weeks the young Australian has had the opportunity to spend some refreshing time in his adopted base of Banbury, England and settle into a new house before jetting out with his co-driver Glenn Macneall yesterday to Turkey to compete in Round Seven of the FIA World Rally Championship.

"It has been good to get back to England after a month or so that has been pretty full on between the last few events in New Zealand, Italy and Cyprus," said Atkinson.

"Both myself and Glenn have been working hard in the gym to stay on top of our fitness as we are in the middle of the toughest group of events in the Championship.

"We have also spent a lot of time at the Prodrive workshop with our technicians working through the data we gained from Cyprus and also getting to know the cars inside and out.

"Rallying is such a unique form of motorsport, you have to be more than just a driver, sometimes need to implement a lot of your mechanical knowledge to make sure you get the results on the board.

"Learning more about the Subaru WRC car is something that both myself and Glenn have been focusing on since joining the team and has been beneficial to us on more than one occasion already, including when we attempted to fix our clutch problem in Cyprus."

Between events Atkinson competed in a karting challenge against members of the Subaru World Rally team where he was proud to announce that he qualified on pole position but wasn't so outspoken about finishing second.

He also spent time in Wales where he went mountain biking with Petter Solberg's co-driver Phil Mills and SWRT driver trainer John Mills.

This weekend's event in Turkey will be one of the numerous events on the calendar that Atkinson hasn't competed in, or attend before. However he isn't phased by the challenge that the tough Turkish roads will present this weekend.

"The last two events haven't been so good when you look at the overall results, but the most pleasing thing for me is the development of my driving style and I now understand more about how the car reacts under different situations," said Atkinson.

"We have learned that we can drive the Subaru at a comfortable pace on rough roads that we expect to experience this weekend, now I'd like to pick up the speed and aim for a good overall result."

The 2005 Rally of Turkey will be the third time that the event has been a part of the WRC with Carlos Sainz claiming the victory and Sebastien Loeb taking the win last year ahead of Marcus Gronholm and Atkinson's Subaru team-mate Petter Solberg.

After announcing his retirement at the end of last year Sainz makes his return to the driver's seat this weekend with the Citroen team in Turkey. His team-mate and defending Champion, Loeb leads the 2005 FIA World Rally Drivers Championship on

The event begins on Friday with the first of three legs beginning with Loeb taking to the start line as the first of the 85 entries beginning at 7:08am local time (2:08pm AEST). The opening leg of the event includes 148.14 competitive kilometres across nine stages.

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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers John Mills , Carlos Sainz , Marcus Gronholm , Petter Solberg , Sébastien Loeb , Chris Atkinson
Teams Citroën World Rally Team