Atkinson aiming for top five on WRC return
Chris Atkinson is hopeful of finishing amongst the front-runners when he returns to the World Rally Championship at this weekend’s Rally Mexico.
Atkinson is replacing regular Abu Dhabi Citroen Total World Rally Team pilot Khalid Al Qassimi due to clashing commitments for the Emirati.
The 33-year-old Atkinson has run part-programs in the WRC since Subaru pulled its factory team at the end of the 2008 season.
The Gold Coast-based driver sampled Ford, Citroen and Mini machinery across seven starts last season, which included an outing in Mexico with Ken Block’s Monster World Rally Team, and with Citroen Racing in Finland.
Failing to finish in Mexico last year due to mechanical issues, Atkinson says he’ll be gunning for a top five finish this time around.
“It’s an awesome opportunity for me, because I had no plans to take part in the World Championship this season,” he said ahead of the weekend.
“I’ll be going all out to score some points for the team again. I tested the car in Portugal last week and although it was raining, it did give me the chance to get back into the swing of things.
“These cars are amazing to drive and I’ve enjoyed success here in the past so a top five finish would be a sweet result for myself and the team.”
Atkinson will again be joined by experienced Belgian co-driver Stephane Prevot this weekend.
Volkswagen’s Sebastien Ogier leads the WRC standings by three points over Citroen Sebastien Loeb heading into the third round.
Loeb is undertaking a part-time campaign and will not be present in Mexico, leaving Ford’s Mads Ostberg as Ogier’s closer challenger. The Norwegian is 22 points adrift of the lead.