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Chris Atkinson wins opening leg of APRC

Speedcafe.com

Saturday 31st March, 2012 - 1:51pm

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Atkinson's Skoda during service at Rally Whangarei

Atkinson's Skoda during service at Rally Whangarei

Chris Atkinson has won the opening leg of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship in a commanding fashion today after finishing 59.8s ahead of his closest rival.

Atkinson sits ahead of Proton driver PG Andersson who was the only challenge to the Australian before the Swede dropped time with a puncture on SS2, Bull 1 at 32.11kms in length.

“Today has been a great start to the championship for the Skoda MRF team and it’s fantastic to secure the seven bonus points for winning today’s leg and be leading the APRC,” commented Atkinson.

“Tomorrow is not quite as long but still a very fast and demanding day and it will be challenging starting from first on the road but we have a healthy lead an we’ll be looking to protect it and start the year on a winning note.”

Skoda teammate Gaurav Gill sits firmly in the final podium spot albeit some two miuntes off Atkinson’s leading time while the Gold Coaster’s former teammate, Alistair McRae lies in fourth in the second Proton S2000.

Rounding out the top-5 in the APRC standings is New Zealander Brian Green with Karamjit Singh of Malaysia in sixth and Japan’s Akira Bamba in seventh.

Remarkably the top-7 drivers hail from seven different nations as the 2012 APRC shapes up to be one of the best seasons yet for this fast growing rally championship.

The event also doubles as a round of the New Zealand Rally Championship and despite their category allowing much higher powered machinery, Atkinson still leads all competitors in his naturally-aspirated S2000 specification Skoda.

Rally Whangarei – Leg 1 Results

Pos

Driver

Team

Time

1

Chris Atkinson

MRF Skoda

1:36:28.0

2

PG Andersson

Proton Motorsports

+0:59.8

3

Gaurav Gill

MRF Skoda

+2:09.2

4

Alistair McRae

Proton Motorsports

+2:42.9

5

Brian Green

Brian Green Motorsport

+8:40.9

 

Check out the video highlights from the day for Atkinson

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