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Atkinson ‘hoping’ to drive C4 again

Chris Atkinson has said that while he would love to do some more events with Citroen at the moment nothing has been finalised.

Atkinson, who was of course left high and dry when Subaru canned its WRC programme in December, made his debut for the Citroen Junior Team in Ireland last weekend, the opening round in the 2009 World Rally Championship.

The Aussie ran strongly too and while he was a bit cautious to begin with, entirely understandable and sensible given how bad the conditions were, he was quickly on the pace. Indeed he set two fourth fastest times on Friday afternoon and despite a big scare in SS6 - when he went off the road and up a bank and into a telegraph pole - he still finished the shortened first leg in the points and in seventh place overall.

Chris then put in a charge on day two, gaining two places in the very first stage when his Citroen Junior colleagues, Conrad Rautenbach and Sebastien Ogier, both had problems.

He then set about closing the considerable 1.5 minute gap to Henning Solberg in fourth and by the end of Saturday's action, following two fourth fastest times, three thirds and one second, the gap was down to just 4.7 seconds.

Atkinson finally overhauled the Stobart Ford man on Sunday and was looking good to take the place until the penultimate stage, when he made an error and lost around a minute.

Despite that though, Chris was still happy with his performance overall, and rightly so.

"I braked too late [in SS18]. Consequently we lost a minute. Fourth place would have been a good result but I'm not going to be disappointed by a top five placing on such a difficult event,” he noted.

“I was still learning the Citroen C4 WRC on this rally. The car was quick and reliable, and the Citroen Junior Team helped me to make a lot of progress with it. I hope to drive the car again very soon!"

Asked what the future holds now, he conceded however, at this stage he doesn't really know, although he is hopeful his performance in Sligo will aid his cause.

“At the moment I have no plans. We have to wait and see,” he continued. “I'd like to do more events and it would be nice [to do so]. The car is really fantastic and I think given more time in the car and the right events, we can get some really good results for Citroen.

“Okay, I have done many fifth places before. But I think what is more encouraging is the times and the increased performance. Hopefully this will help. But you never know. It is difficult. That is life.”


Related Pictures

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Chris Atkinson (AUS), Citroën C4 WRC, Citroën Junior Team

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