Engine issues halt Atkinson in Japan

Proton's Alister McRae is storming back in Japan

Australia’s Chris Atkinson has suffered engine failure in his Proton Satria while leading the Asia Pacific Rally Championship section of the Rally Hokkaido in Japan.

The Proton team was in a dominant position midway through the opening leg holding the top two places in the APRC. On Special Stage 9 Atkinson was forced into retirement with a blown engine.

Team-mate Alister McRae had to concede second spot due to a puncture in the sixth special stage but was immediately back on the pace recovering from fifth to finish the day in third amongst the APRC running cars.

McRae has the opportunity to close-in on Atkinson’s championship lead. The Perth-based Scotsman is on 86 points, while Atkinson can’t improve on his championship leading 106 points.

Toshi Arai (Japan) leads the rally, but is not eligible for APRC points, second overall and leading Asia Pacific Rally Championship driver is Katsu Taguchi (Japan), followed by Gaurav Gill (India) and McRae.

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