Chris Atkinson has said that he will be 'pushing harder than ever' in the final five events of the season in order to try and get his first podium finish of the season - and only the second of his WRC career.

Atkinson recently signed a new deal with the Subaru World Rally Team through to the end of the 2009 season and buoyed by that and his recent form, which included a fourth place finish on the last event in New Zealand, he is keen to do as well as possible.

"I think everyone in the team wants to see fastest times and they want to see us on the podium," he told the official SWRT website.

"You see that in the enthusiasm of the people in the team, especially when you come back and you're leading the rally, like we were in Greece, and when we had good results in Monte Carlo, Mexico.

"It's been encouraging, but we need to do that more often and start fighting for one place higher.

"We've had a few fourths, now we need to get into the top three, and then seconds and wins.

"I always have high expectations, perhaps higher than are sometimes realistic, but with fourth places in Finland and New Zealand in the latter half of this year, we are definitely pushing harder than ever for a podium," he added.

Asked about the year more generally, Chris conceded that while it obviously hasn't gone exactly to plan - either for him or Subaru, there have still been some positives.

Indeed he has been pleased with his own form, which has seen him notch up 25 points - and finish in the top eight seven times in eleven outings.

"We had fairly high expectations at the start and were hoping to be on the podium quite regularly. Unfortunately things haven't gone as smoothly as we'd hoped - such is motorsport - but we're hoping to turn it around in the second half of the year," he continued.

"The car's getting better all the time, the team is working extremely hard, and as long as that development keeps improving then there's every chance we'll be back on target. But overall I'm pretty happy with how I'm driving and I think personally I've done quite a good job," he summed-up



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