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Atkinson rocks and rolls.

Chris Atkinson was disappointed to end his Rally New Zealand before it had barely started after crashing on SS4 and being unable to restart.

Although Subaru are treating this event as a chance to understand more about the new Impreza, Atkinson's decent pace on the first loop of stages had the team eyeing a strong top five result.

However, those hopes were dashed at the start of the afternoon when Atkinson lost control of his car, cut a corner and rolled over. Although unharmed, the damage was enough for Atkinson to cruise to a halt before the end of the stage, forcing him to throw in the towel.

“It's disappointing for sure, but the car just got sideways and on full opposite lock I ended up cutting a corner too much and it just went over,” he said. “But the car stood up well to the impact so we're both ok. We were pushing pretty hard this morning and maybe a little harder after the service, but it's just disappointing that we weren't able to get closer to the pace.

A frustrating outcome after a promising start, Atkinson had been looking to find some improvements from the car after struggling in for grip initially.

“We seem to be giving away a little more in the slow stuff than the fast. The grip was pretty tricky this morning, but much better on the second passes as road cleaning is a big factor. We'll take tomorrow as more testing and mileage and see what we're able to do.”

Atkinson will, however, restart the event under SupeRally where he will bid to give the Impreza some much-needed real time development. He will also try and aid Petter Solberg's cause after a troubled day left him in a modest seventh.

“Today has been very tough” he said. “We've been pushing hard, but we're too far off the leaders. We had some problems with damaged front right suspension, and that's where we lost most. Grip was really tricky this morning, very slippery, and it got better this afternoon, but with our road position we should have been faster.”


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