The Australian, 33, was gifted a factory spec DS3 for Rally Mexico when he took the place of Abu Dhabi Citroën Total WRT driver Khalid Al Qassimi.
But Atkinson’s chances of a good points finish took a knock on stage three when he hit a rock and damaged his car’s steering.
“The target was top-five, and we ended up sixth after losing more than five minutes on the first day and then being stuck with a bad road position,” Atkinson told wrc.com. “I am sure we would have been fourth or fifth without being unlucky with the rock - but that’s Mexico.”
Despite missing his goal, Atkinson was satisfied with his speed when compared to the full-time World Rally Car drivers.
“It’s difficult to turn up and be straight on front-running pace against guys who are in the cars so regularly,” he explained. “But we were about 0.3 sec per km off Mikko when we didn't have any problems, and I can see where the time was being lost.
“If I was flat-out and doing those times I would be worried, but the plan was to drive at a safe speed and I know we can go faster. Citroen are a smart team, they know the details and can see if I was doing a good job or not.”
“I would love to have a few more rallies to get up to speed and help the team with the manufacturers' championship. But its not my decision, I have done what I can,” he added.