by Rob Wilkins.
Chris Atkinson blasted onto the WRC scene last year and having joined Subaru for 2005, the Australian is already turning heads.
His performance in Sweden, his first with the Banbury based squad, was impressive to say the least - for not only was it's his first outing in a World Rally car, but it was also his first time on snow. This guy is going to be one to watch over the next few seasons, and will surely give Petter Solberg
and Sebastien Loeb
a few sleepless nights as he gains in years.
Here speaking to Crash.net Radio
, he talks about that
display in Sweden and looks ahead to the Rally Mexico, in two weeks time...
Chris, first up, congratulations. I think you impressed most people in the WRC - if not all - in Sweden. You must be pleased?
Yeah. I think we were pretty happy with the result - obviously there were a few mistakes. But to be able to do reasonably good times, first time in the car and first time on the snow makes us pretty happy. Obviously it was a big learning experience but we tried to make the most of it and do all the stages as well.
Team boss David Lapworth said at the end of leg 2, and I quote: you were 'the star of the rally'. Does a comment like that help you, do you think or does it just add to the pressure?
Obviously it is a good to have the support of people like David. That is really, really nice and that shows we are doing a good job. But that is obviously just one rally out of the 15 we are doing, so there's a long way to go and we are not getting too excited yet. We have got a lot to learn and we will take one rally at a time.
How did you get on with the Impreza during your debut in it?
Fantastic - obviously the car had no problems through the event, that was brilliant and everything worked really well. It was more down to me finding the limits of the car and the surface - and that's where the mistakes came from. So it was a pretty awesome car to drive and really good fun. I have never looked so forward to doing a stage as I did in this car. I wish I could race everyday.
Now obviously it was your first time on snow, did it take you long to get use to that?
A little bit, but I think the bigger difficult was learning to adapt to a WRC car. I think the surface, although it was difficult, being a similar surface to a gravel surface, than say tarmac, its not a big step and I was more adapting to the car and the car speed rather than the surface. So it was pretty exciting to drive on the snow - but you know what grip you have got and although it was tricky conditions, it wasn't overly tricky and it was good fun.
You looked like you would finish in the top ten - if not score a point - until you're off in SS18, with only two more tests to go. Was your overall classification - 19th - a sore point?