Wednesday | 03 Sep 2014

Atkinson aims to draw on home comforts

WRC returnee Chris Atkinson is determined to make the most of his first WRC outing in six months when he climbs back in to the driving seat at next week’s Coates Hire Rally Australia.

The 34-year-old will pilot one of Hyundai’s i20 WRCs at his home event (11-14 September) and it will be the first time he’s driven the car competitively since Rally Mexico in March.

“There’s been a bit of a gap between events but that hasn’t stopped me before and I’ll definitely give it a good crack,” Atkinson told “My aim is to drive well all weekend and be as fast as possible. I’ll be happy with that.

“I haven’t driven the latest car yet and I don’t know what the conditions are like. But, for sure, I want to be well up in the points and you never know what can happen.”

Atkinson's most recent WRC outing was Rally Mexico in March

Atkinson doesn’t have any previous experience on New South Wales’ Coffs Coast gravel stages but he reckons that just competing on home soil will stand him in good stead.

He said: “It’s all new because I’ve never done the rally there. But I should have a good idea about the terrain and fast gravel suits me. Knowing the nature of the Australian roads should play into my hands. I just need to write some good pace notes and drive to them.”

The pressure on Atkinson is sure to be increased in Australia as he’ll be going head-to-head with New Zealand’s Hayden Paddon in the Hyundai team. Both men will be vying for the right to call themselves Australasia’s top WRC driver.

Atkinson knows the threat that Paddon poses. But he’s just focusing on driving him own rally.

“It’s great to have two people from that part of the world in World Rally Cars,” he said.

“Hayden’s obviously driving well and has been given a good opportunity with the team. But I’ve got more experience of the WRC. It’s going to be interesting and I’m sure he’ll be quick. I just need to pull my finger out and go as fast as I can.”

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