Chris Atkinson will make his return to a full-blown World Rally Car for the first time since Rally Ireland in 2009 after agreeing a deal to partner Ken Block in the Monster World Rally Team for Rally Mexico next month.
The Mexican event will be the first of three rounds where the Monster team will appear this season, with regular driver Ken Block also taking on the challenge of the new Global Rallycross Championship during 2012.
Atkinson will hope to impress on what will be his first outing in Ford machinery, with the Australian having sampled the Fiesta WRC for the first time in a test in Cumbria last week.
Ahead of his return to the series, Atkinson said he felt more excited than when he made his debut with Subaru's factory team and was hopeful of a strong result on an event where he finished second on his last appearance.
“The car was awesome,” Atkinson told WRC.com
. “It's the first time I've ever driven a Ford rally car and it's not hard to see how the car won in Sweden. It was unreal to rack up some miles in the car and we were really starting to get the hang of it. And I'm stoked to be in the Monster World Rally Team and to be kickin' it with Ken and his crew. I remember when I first drove for Subaru, but I'm more excited about this now - this is a huge opportunity for me to get back in the main game at the peak of my career.
“I drove the car for a day and a half in Cumbria and didn't really change much. The test was fantastic; it's mad being back in a World Rally Car! And especially on Rally Mexico, an event which I like and have a pretty solid record. I was second to [Sebastien] Loeb last time out, I wouldn't mind that result next month!”