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Q&A: Chris Atkinson - EXCLUSIVE.

All the teams will switch to using Pirelli tyres next year and there will be no-run flat mousse. How much difference is that going to make?

CA:
It is going to be interesting - that is for sure. Really everyone was on the same tyres this year but we had a lot of choices. Next year the tyre decision will be pretty simple - there will be usually one or two compounds to choose from and it is going to be down to a bit of driver skill, with regard to punctures as well, with no anti-deflation devices. It is going to take a different set-up on the car too because the tyres are designed a bit differently. The tyres are stiffer and stronger [to try and prevent punctures] and the result of that is less grip. It is going to be a new challenge.

Crash.net:
How much testing have you got planned prior to the Rallye Monte Carlo in January?

CA:
We have got some testing in the first week of January, I think. We are testing in France. We have got a two-day test for that and then obviously we will be doing some testing for Sweden as well.

Crash.net:
Subaru started fielding three-cars on all events from the Rally Finland - has it been useful having Xavier Pons in the team?

CA:
Xavier is a really good guy and good to work with. He has brought some experience from other teams and that all helps. I think he is learning as we move forward together as a team and it can only help to have extra feedback and extra input from a new driver and someone of his level.

Crash.net:
How do you expect your rivals to perform next year?

CA:
Obviously [Citroen's] Sebastien [Loeb] is going to be the guy to beat and we are looking - Petter and myself, both to be up there competing for wins and podiums. But whether we can do that straight away we will have to wait and see. Mikko [Hirvonen] looks like he is coming on really well [at the BP Ford WRT] and he is doing some really top rallies. It would be good to see him fighting with Sebastien. We don't want to see Sebastian walk away with it. We want to see some action. We want to hopefully have three or four drivers fighting for rally wins. That would be the best thing and it makes it fun for us as drivers as well.

Crash.net:
What are your plans for Christmas and the New Year?

CA:
I am in Australia for a couple of weeks. We don't get that long a break. We will head back the first few days in January and then kick off testing. Basically just training - it has been a pretty hectic couple of months with the lead up of rallies and it was fairly non-stop there. Now it is time to get fit again and get back on track and just re-energise the body and get ready to hit it.


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Chris Atkinson (AUS) / Stephane Prevot (BEL), Subaru WRT Impreza WRC 2007. Rallye de France-Tour de Corse, Corsica. 12-14th October 2007.
Chris Atkinson (AUS) / Stephane Prevot (BEL), Subaru WRT Impreza WRC 2007.
Chris Atkinson (AUS) / Stephane Prevot (BEL), Subaru WRT Impreza WRC 2007.
Chris Atkinson (AUS) Stephane Prevot (BEL) Hyundai i20 WRC
Chris Atkinson (AUS) Stephane Prevot (BEL) Hyundai i20 WRC
Chris Atkinson (AUS) Hyundai i20 WRC
Chris Atkinson (AUS) Stephane Prevot (BEL) Hyundai i20 WRC
Chris Atkinson (AUS) Stephane Prevot (BEL) Hyundai i20 WRC
Chris Atkinson (AUS) Stephane Prevot (BEL) Hyundai i20 WRC
Chris Atkinson (AUS) Stephane Prevot (BEL) Hyundai i20 WRC
Chris Atkinson (AUS) Stephane Prevot (BEL) Hyundai i20 WRC
Chris Atkinson (AUS) Stephane Prevot (BEL) Hyundai i20 WRC
Chris Atkinson (AUS) Stephane Prevot (BEL) Hyundai i20 WRC
Chris Atkinson (AUS) Stephane Prevot (BEL) Hyundai i20 WRC
Chris Atkinson (AUS) Stephane Prevot (BEL) Hyundai i20 WRC
Chris Atkinson (AUS) Stephane Prevot (BEL) Hyundai i20 WRC
Chris Atkinson (AUS) Stephane Prevot (BEL) Hyundai i20 WRC
Chris Atkinson (AUS) Stephane Prevot (BEL) Hyundai i20 WRC

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