|Date of Birth:
||2004, New Zealand
||Hyundai Shell World Rally Team
Here’s what makes him special:
• Don’t be fooled by the laid-back Aussie exterior; Atkinson is a quick and determined driver
• Persevered through Subaru’s lean years to bag six podiums and 40 stage wins
• Out of a full time drive since the end of 2008, he has worked tirelessly to secure a WRC return
• Part of Hyundai’s 2013 test and development team he has a golden opportunity to impress in 2014
The story so far
Chris Atkinson was given his WRC chance by Subaru in 2005 and forged an impressive reputation by securing numerous podium finishes, 40 stage wins and frequently outpacing established team-mate Petter Solberg during Subaru’s least competitive seasons.
However, the Australian was left in the WRC wilderness at the end of 2008 when the Japanese manufacturer called time on its WRC programme. He tried to get his WRC career back on track in 2009 with an outing in a Citroen C4 WRC, but with no funds beyond the opening round of the series, he was forced back onto the sidelines.
With WRC opportunities at a premium, Atkinson turned his attention to other rallying series and recorded notable successes in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge and the Asia Pacific championships – finishing runner up to APRC champion Alister McRae in 2011.
Atkinson returned to the WRC with sporadic outings in various cars during 2012 and 2013, and the speed he showed during this period convinced Hyundai to employ him as a test driver for its i20 WRC project.
The Korean manufacturer has opted to retain Atkinson’s services for the 2014 season, and he has been rewarded with an unspecified number of WRC outings this year, including his home event in Australia.
||Second in Asia Pacific Rally Championship with three wins
||Contested selected Intercontinental Rally Challenge and Asia Pacific Rally Championship events
||Makes one appearance in the World Rally Championship, 14th in standings
||Fifth in World Rally Championship with five podiums
||Seventh in World Rally Championship
||Tenth in World Rally Championship
||Twelfth in World Rally Championship with one podium
||Makes World Rally Championship debut, 16th in final standings