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Atkinson fights back to take sixth, hopeful of further outings
12 March 2013
Chris Atkinson has said he is 'hopeful' he will get 'further chances' with the Abu Dhabi Citroen Total World Rally Team following his sixth place finish last weekend on Rally Mexico.
Atkinson was subbing for the team's regular driver Khalid Al-Qassimi, who was unable to do the event due to clashing commitments, and despite losing three and a half minutes on day one and dropping outside the top-15 after hitting a rock and damaging his steering, the Aussie stormed back up the leaderboard and still took a good haul of points.
He also showed he still has the pace to mix it with the best of them, often matching stage times with the factory Citroen, Ford and Volkswagen drivers.
Unfortunately, however his event got off to a horror start, when he broke the power steering on his Citroen DS3 WRC in SS3. This forced him and Belgian co-driver Stephane Prevot to make emergency repairs to replace a damaged bolt in the steering before the start of the next test.
The repairs meant he would check into the start of SS4, 21 minutes late, handing him a 3 minute 30 seconds time penalty but the resilient Aussie fought back over the next two days to secure another fine result in what was his 75th WRC event start.
“I'm stoked on finishing sixth on this really tough and testing event!” Atkinson reflected.
“I'd like to thank Khalid Al Qassimi and the Abu Dhabi Citroen team for giving me the opportunity to drive in Mexico. Hopefully, my performance will allow for future chances with the team, so that I can build on this experience.
“I hit a loose rock on the opening gravel stage on Friday and we were really lucky the damage didn't put us out of the event altogether, it was a real testament to the strength of the Citroen. If we hadn't lost all that time on Friday we would have achieved our goal of a top-five finish so I'm really happy with my performance and glad to get the job done for Abu Dhabi Citroen Total World Rally Team.
“Rally Mexico is one of the most colourful events on the WRC calendar and this was once again the case in 2013.
“There were an incredible amount of spectators at the start in Guanajuato and out on the stages, and it's great to see all the smiling faces out there enjoying our sport with us,” he concluded.
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