Atkinson gears up for Irish asphalt challenge The Subaru World Rally Team announced today that its 26-year-old Australian driver Chris Atkinson will contest Rally Ireland, a candidate event for inclusion in the 2007 World Rally ...
Atkinson gears up for Irish asphalt challenge
The Subaru World Rally Team announced today that its 26-year-old Australian driver Chris Atkinson will contest Rally Ireland, a candidate event for inclusion in the 2007 World Rally Championship.
More used to competing alongside team-mate and ex world champion Petter Solberg in a WRC specification Impreza, Atkinson and co-driver Glenn Macneall will drive a Group N Subaru on the two day Irish event which starts from the host city of Sligo on 10 March.
First run in 2005, the rally comprises 268 kilometres of competitive asphalt stages in counties Donegal, Fermanagh, Leitrim, Sligo and Tyrone. With the aim of becoming a round of the WRC series in 2007, this year's event will be run to full WRC standards and is the only full asphalt rally to undergo an inspection by the sports governing body, the FIA.
"It's unfamiliar territory for me, but from what I've heard it's going to be a lot of fun," said Atkinson. "I've never even been to Ireland before, let alone competed there, but I know it's a country where rallying is very popular and the local competition is bound to be pretty fierce. But it's great to have the opportunity to get more asphalt kilometres under my belt so I'm really looking forward to it."
"Gaining more experience on asphalt is one of Chris's development objectives this year," said SWRT performance director, David Lapworth. "The challenging stages in Ireland will be great practice for him. He needs all the asphalt experience he can get but, in particular, coming from sunny Australia, he hasn't had many chances to drive in the wet - that shouldn't be a problem in Ireland!"