Chris Atkinson has said he will be targeting a top-five finish on Rally Mexico next week, the third round in the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship.
The 2012 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Champion has been called up by the Abu Dhabi Citroen Total World Rally Team and will compete in a Citroen DS3 WRC car, subbing for Khalid Al-Qassimi, who is unable to attend.
Speaking to the official WRC site, the Aussie added that while he won't be going 'absolutely flat-out', he will try his very best.
“I think the rally suits my driving style. I've always had decent results in Mexico and we won a stage there last year. Hopefully we can do a good job this time and get a decent points' haul for the Abu Dhabi team,” he told wrc.com
“We're not going there to go absolutely flat out but obviously we're going to try our best. Top five is a good target. I think we'd be happy with that.”
Meanwhile, while rain spoiled his pre-Rally Mexico test last week in Portugal, he wasn't too frustrated.
“Unfortunately the weather wasn't very good, it was raining on and off, so not great preparations for the dust and heat we're expecting. [But] luckily I already know the car a bit from Rally Finland last year [when I competed in a Citroen DS3 WRC for the Qatar WRT], so this was more about familiarisation, getting in some extra miles and adjusting the set-up a little,” added the former Subaru works WRC pilot.
“It's already a great car so there wasn't really a lot of work to do. Mikko [Hirvonen] drove in dry conditions earlier in the test and he had shown that the set-up worked, so I didn't steer too far away from his settings.”
As for beyond Mexico, Atkinson conceded things are far from certain, although the situation was similar twelve months ago too and he still ended up doing seven WRC events, one with the Monster WRT (in Mexico), one with the Qatar WRT (in Finland) and five events at the end of 2012 with the WRC MINI Team Portugal squad.
“I'd love to be back in a full-time drive, and the opportunity to drive a factory Citroen [in Mexico] is massive for me. I don't know where this will lead but I'd love to do a few more WRC events this year. We'll have to wait and see,” he summed-up.