Subaru's Chris Atkinson was happy to get through the Pioneer Rally Japan at the weekend and finish in fourth place - especially as the conditions were extremely challenging.

The weather was a big talking point throughout the penultimate round in the World Rally Championship and two stages were cancelled due to snow before the event even got underway.

Atkinson ended the opening day in fourth and while he slipped behind his team-mate, Petter Solberg in SS12 on the Saturday, he regained the spot late on, when the Norwegian spun and damaged his car.

The final day was all about survival and it was definitely the most treacherous as torrential rain hit the stages, creating rivers that flooded the roads, huge ruts in the thick mud that bounced rally cars left and right and very little traction.

With a two minute margin over his closest rival, Chris had nothing to push for and he just paced himself to the finish and his tenth top eight of the year. The result means he retains P4 in the championship, although he is now equal fourth with Jari-Matti Latvala - both having scored 50 points.

"The conditions were very tricky today and we just focused on maintaining our place," Atkinson confirmed. "There was no need to push for position; we had two minutes behind us and a minute and a half in front after the morning so there was no need to do anything silly, but it was still so easy to make a mistake as it's so slippery with full rain and mud.

"The top three had no problems, so that's the best we could do. It's been a tricky weekend for everyone as the conditions were really difficult with a lot of rain and a lot of water standing in the road, and even at the pace we were going it was difficult to keep the car on the road. We were aquaplaning everywhere so it's really good to get through and to finish the rally."



Loading Comments...