That’s according to team manager Bruno De Pianto, who says the performance of the MINI John Cooper Works WRC the Australian will use on Rallye de France Alsace this week is much more to the 32-year-old’s liking.
Atkinson joined the Motorsport Italia-run outfit for ADAC Rallye Deutschland back in August and De Pianto said the late nature of the deal meant the usual preparation and set-up work was compromised.
This week’s trip to Strasbourg marks Atkinson’s second asphalt event with the squad and Di Pianto is confident of further progress following car and engine tweaks and a two-day pre-event test, which finished on Monday.
“The car is getting better and better and the experience Chris now has is improving all the time,” said De Pianto. “We have been able to change the damper settings for him, worked on the differential settings and made the engine mapping more responsive. This should make the car better for Chris.”
In terms of a likely result, De Pianto added: “The target will be to reach the end and get the experience for the future. For sure Chris won’t be sleeping on the stages but it’s important to do all the stages. It really starts here for him.”
Atkinson will be linking up with former navigator Glenn Macneall this week due to a clashing commitment for regular co-driver Stephane Prevot. Brazilians Paulo Nobre and Edu Paula complete in a second entry.