Subaru refugee Chris Atkinson had his first taste of a Citroen C4 WRC car earlier this week and immediately declared it 'fantastic' to drive.

The 29-year-old, who did a full day's test in the north of France, completed 180 kilometres in daylight and darkness where road conditions were both wet and dry as temperatures floated from a chilly -10 centigrade, in the early morning, to positive figures as the day progressed.

The test took place on a stage representative of the roads Atkinson is likely to experience on the Rally Ireland in two weeks time.

Throughout the test the Australian was able to work with the Citroen Sport Technologies team to find an ideal set-up for Ireland while at the same time familiarise himself with the car which took Citroen to victory in the 2008 Manufacturers' Championship.

With two stages set to run in darkness in Ireland the Queenslander was also able to complete four night runs over the 2.1 kilometre test road where he put in his fastest time of the session, suggesting the youngster progressed well in adapting to his new steed.

"The C4 really is a fantastic car to drive and I'm thankful to the team we were able to get a full day's testing in ahead of Ireland," said Chris, who will contest round one of the 2009 World Rally Championship as part of the newly formed Citroen Junior Team.

"This was our first time back in a rally car since the big accident in Wales but it all went very well and we got progressively faster as the day went on which was encouraging.

"The C4 is a car you can really get a lot more out of the harder you drive it. It's amazing how aggressively you can attack corners, yet it all stays very balanced and straight.

"I was able to work with team to find a suitable setup for Ireland so now the focus is on training and preparing for the event to put ourselves in the best possible position to perform."



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