Atkinson has only tackled two FIA World Rally Championship rounds since the end of 2008 but has been a regular in the regional competition for the last two seasons and currently leads the standings by 45 points following the recent Malaysian Rally.
The 32-year-old Australian returns to rallying’s top tier in Finland in a Qatar World Rally Team Citroen DS3 WRC in place of Nasser Al-Attiyah, who is representing his country in the skate shooting section of the London Olympics.
“Although I have moved away from the WRC, I’m still actively involved in rally,” said Atkinson, a podium finisher on six occasions in the world championship. “I am very pleased to get this opportunity and really enthusiastic about competing again [in] Finland. I’ve already taken part in this rally five times and I finished on the podium last time I was here in 2008. I hope I can get on the pace with the DS3 quickly, which seems currently to be the best World Rally Car. The four works drivers seem very determined to fight it out for the win, but I hope I can mix it with the leaders.”
Al-Attiyah, meanwhile, will begin his bid for Olympic gold tomorrow (Monday) when he takes part in the qualifying round. The final is scheduled to take place the following afternoon.