Chris Atkinson has conceded that while it is going to be difficult now for him to stay in the WRC, he still definitely wants to continue competing in 2009 and may consider a move to the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

Atkinson has been left in the lurch following Subaru's decision to can its World Rally Championship programme, a decision that was announced on Tuesday and took many by surprise - including Chris himself, who enjoyed his best year to date in '08, notching up five podiums in total.

"I am a little bit surprised," the Aussie conceded to the Herald Sun. "I definitely didn't expect it, especially with everyone having contracts for next year. At the moment I still have a contract with Subaru for 2009 - but obviously if they are not competing then neither am I.

"That's about as much as I know at the moment. I've been loyal to Subaru and that's the disappointing thing.

"There are only five or six drivers in the world at our level so hopefully I will be wanted somewhere.

"Obviously I still want to race and compete, but with the championship at the moment it looks difficult to get a drive [in 2009].

"You've always got to keep your eye out for what's available, but there is not too much to chase in the WRC. [Also] I think of the options that are available they require sponsorship to be brought. It wouldn't be ideal. That's not what I want to do," he added.

With the WRC looking unlikely then, Chris admitted that the Intercontinental Rally Challenge might be one alternative.

"There are a lot of good things about the IRC and we need manufacturers in there, so that's an interesting situation," he continued. "I don't know if Subaru is planning anything on that front, or the Super 2000 category, but they will still be involved in Group N.

"I'll be happy if the phone rings, but we have to see what happens. I don't want to be too confident. I haven't looked at too many options yet. We only found out on Monday."