30 Mar 08
Chris Atkinson of the Subaru World Rally Team finished Rally Argentina in second position today - collecting his third podium from the four rallies run this season.
“It’s been such a hard weekend it feels more like a relief to finish!” said Atkinson. “Another podium is fantastic for us and for the team, there’s nothing that motivates the guys more than a great result at the end of all the hard work. The feeling in the car was just so much more consistent this weekend and it was easier to drive so I was able to push without making any big mistakes. It’s clear we’ve taken some good steps forward with the car this year and it’s sort of a surprise for me to be third in the championship at the moment. It’s a real shame about Petter as he was going very well and we should have had two cars on the podium, but it demonstrates that we’re definitely moving in the right direction.”
Atkinson’s team-mates Petter Solberg and Phil Mills were dealt a cruel blow when a complete electrical failure caused their retirement from second place on the day’s opening test. Solberg had been on course for his best result since Rally Portugal in 2007.
“I am desperately disappointed for Petter and Phil” said David Richards, Subaru World Rally Team Principal. “Petter is showing such renewed enthusiasm since we’ve got the car more to his liking, and despite this setback I’m feeling increasingly confident for the rest of the season. In Chris’ case, his maturity in these extraordinarily tough conditions has delivered him yet another excellent result.”
Atkinson’s second place moves him into third overall in the drivers’ championship, three points behind Mikko Hirvonen in second. The Subaru World Rally Team return from South America in third position overall in the manufacturers’ championship.