Subaru exile Chris Atkinson has secured a Citroen C4 for the opening round of the 2009 World Rally Championship after being included in the French team's new 'Junior' line-up.

Atkinson was left on the sidelines earlier this month following the shock decision by Subaru to pull out of the WRC as they struggle to contend with the effects of the global economic crisis.

With Suzuki joining Subaru in quitting and only Ford and Citroen confirmed for 2009. Atkinson had admitted that his options for the new year looked very slim.

Nonetheless, the Australian, who managed five podium finishes on the way to fifth in the overall standings this year, has already managed to land a drive for the first round of the 2009 season in Ireland after being snapped up by reigning champions Citroen.

Included as part of the manufacturer's newly announced M2 'Junior Rally Team', 29-year-old Atkinson has only been entered for one event so far, but the team has high hopes that his programme will expand as the year progresses.

"It is our belief that our association with Chris will not stop there," Citroen Sport technologies Benoit Nogier said.

Atkinson's deal means his former team-mate Petter Solberg is now the highest ranking driver left without a seat for the start of the 2009 season.