Atkinson, who placed 13th in the 2012 FIA World Rally Championship standings on the back of four top-10 finishes with WRC Team MINI Portugal, was a wildcard entry in the Australian V8 Ute Racing Series round, a support event to the V8 Supercar meeting on a temporary circuit at Homebush Olympic Park.
After qualifying 15th, Atkinson finished 15th and 12th in the two races on the 3.4-kilometre course. “They’re different things to drive, but I was really happy,” said ‘Atko’. “I broke a damper in qualifying, so we didn’t get up to where we wanted; I’m sure we would have got a top 10.
“The races were good fun. The ute [Australian speak for utility vehicle] is basically a big heavy road car - it weighs 1800 kilograms and has no weight on the rear wheels.
“It was pretty hot at Homebush, but I didn’t feel it because they were only short races. It gets hotter in a rally car.”
Australian Atkinson is now heading to Turkey for the FIA Prize Giving Gala in Istanbul on 7 December where he will receive his trophy for winning the FIA Asia Pacific championship this year. His country hosts round 10 of next season’s WRC from 12-15 September.
Photo: Dirk Klynsmith