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Atkinson: I could have been in top five

Chris Atkinson reckons he could have finished inside the top five without problems on day two of Rally Finland
Chris Atkinson insists he could have celebrated a top five finish on his return to the World Rally Championship had it not been for two incidents on the second day of Rally Finland.

Atkinson was making his first appearance of the season at the wheel of the Citroen DS3 WRC normally campaigned by Nasser Al-Attiyah, who was away winning a bronze medal in the Skeet category at the 2012 Olympic Games.

The Australian had run in a solid seventh place at the end of day one but was then forced to retire on the second day when – having already lost 16 minutes when he got stuck on a bank on SS8 – he was forced to retire after taking a wheel off his car on stage ten.

With his car repaired overnight, Atkinson rejoined the action for the final day although he was left to wonder what might have been having been classified down in 39th place under the Rally 2 regulations.

“I'd really like to thank the entire team,” he said. “We have spent the weekend in a top class car. If I hadn't made that mistake, I think we could have achieved my goal of finishing in the top five. I don't know when I'll be back in the WRC, but I hope it will be soon and with Citroen if possible!”

Fellow Citroen man Thierry Neuville also retired on the second day after hitting the same rock as Atkinson before restarting under Rally 2 to finish in 16th place.

“It was important for us to complete all the stages, including the famous Ouninpohja test,” he said. “It helped me to fine-tine my pace notes and assess how much progress I still have to make. When we crossed the finishing line, I felt disappointed because I believed I had it in me to make it to the finish without making any mistakes… My only wish now is to come back to this rally and continue to make progress!”



Related Pictures

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Chris Atkinson (AUS) Stephane Prevot (BEL), Citroen DS3 WRC
Chris Atkinson (AUS) Stephane Prevot (BEL), Citroen DS3 WRC
Chris Atkinson (AUS) Stephane Prevot (BEL), Citroen DS3 WRC
21.05.2017 - 1st place Sébastien Ogier (FRA)-Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team, 2nd place Thierry Neuville (BEL)-Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, Hyundai Motorsport and 3rd place Dani Sordo (ESP)-Marc Marti (ESP),Hyundai i2 Coupe WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
21.05.2017 - JEAN-MICHEL RAOUX (FRA) - THOMAS ESCARTEFIGUE (FRA) CITROEN DS3 WRC
21.05.2017 - SHEIK KHALID AL QASSIMI (ARE) - CHRIS PATTERSON (GBR) CITROEN C3 WRC, CITROËN TOTAL ABU DHABI WRT
21.05.2017 - SHEIK KHALID AL QASSIMI (ARE) - CHRIS PATTERSON (GBR) CITROEN C3 WRC, CITROËN TOTAL ABU DHABI WRT
21.05.2017 - Stéphane Lefebvre (FRA)-Gabin Moreau (FRA) Citroen DS3, Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT
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21.05.2017 - Craig Breen (IRL)-Scott Martin (GBR) Citroen C3 WRC, Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT
21.05.2017 - Craig Breen (IRL)-Scott Martin (GBR) Citroen C3 WRC, Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT
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21.05.2017 - Kris Meeke (GBR)-Paul Nagle (IRL) Citroen C3 WRC, Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT
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