Chris Atkinson has set his sights on getting a podium for Australia when he returns to the World Rally Championship to contest Rally Finland next week.
The 31-year-old will be competing in the latest spec Citroen
DS3 World Rally Car as driven by eight-times world champion Sebastien Loeb
thanks to support from Australian backers Brakes Direct, Rallyschool.com.au and the Australian Motor Sport Foundation.
With Olympic spirit in the air, the livery Atkinson will sport in Finland has been designed in true Australian style as he continues to represent his country, mixing it with the world's best.
“I'm stoked to be back in the World Rally Championship and behind the wheel of a car which has won the last eight world championships in succession,” Atkinson commented. “Last time we competed in Finland we tasted champagne and I hope to replicate this next week and do Australia proud just as our athletes in London will be doing over the next month.
“Finland is the mecca of world rallying and I can't wait to be back behind the wheel, hitting massive crests at over 200km/h in front the hundreds of thousands of fans who head out to the event.”
Atkinson will compete for the Qatar World Rally Team with regular driver Nassar Al-Attiyah absent due to commitments representing his country in the Men's Skeet shooting competition at the London Olympics.
Leaving his Gold Coast base last weekend, Atkinson has been familiarising himself with the warm Finnish climate and his new DS3 WRC car thanks to a full-day of testing this week before the real action gets underway next Thursday.
Currently leading the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship with the Skoda MRF team and having contested WRC Rally Mexico in March as team-mate to Ken Block in the Monster World Rally Team, 'Atko' sits in great shape to take it to the best in world rallying in Finland.
“To have a full day test this week has lifted my confidence sky high and I'm hanging out in eager anticipation to get out and drive what are truly some of the most incredible roads on the planet,” he added.
“I've taken heaps away from the test and feel a lot more comfortable with the car and my engineer. One lapse in concentration in Finland and you're gone so I'm definitely heading into the event a lot more relaxed now.
“I have to thank so many fans, friends and family back home who have helped me get back to the to the top of the game, plus support from some great Australian companies and the Australian Motor Sport Foundation for getting us over to Finland.”