Chris Atkinson to contest remaining World Rally Championship rounds with MINI
Great news filtered through at the end of last week that Aussie Chris Atkinson will be back on the World Rally Scene as of the next round, ADAC Rallye Deutschland next weekend.
Atkinson will be the number 1 driver for the Mini WRC team for the rest of the 2012 season.
Full story, More images and full release after the jump.
Great news for the young Australian who has been fighting to get back in the WRC since he lost his ride, when the team withdrew from the WRC at the end of 2008.
This wont be Atkinson’s first run in the WRC this year. He has already competed twice this year in rounds of the WRC.
In March he competed along side team mate Ken Block in a Ford Fiesta at Rally Mexico, but he was forced to retire.
Then earlier this month he competed in Nasser Al-Attiyah’s Citroen DS3 WRC , whilst Al-Attiyah competed at the London Olympics. Atkinson ended up finishing 39th overall.
The Mini WRC car has only run a couple of part season’s since it first ran a WRC event in 2011. Dani Sordo has even managed to score a few podiums in the car.
So we wish Chris all the best for the rest of WRC season.
You can keep up to date with Chris’s progess by following his Twitter & Facebook accounts below
Chris Atkinson’s Facebook Fan page is here
Chris’s Twitter page is here
The Mini WRC Team Facebook page is here
Below is the full Press Release
Australian Chris ‘Atko’ Atkinson will contest the remaining five rounds of the 2012 FIA World Rally Championship as the number one driver for MINI.
Atkinson will compete for the factory-supported WRC Team MINI Portugal and jet set straight from his Gold Coast base to Europe today with the WRC heading to Germany for the ADAC Rallye Deutschland next weekend.
“MINI has provided me with an awesome opportunity to return to the World Championship and I’m stoked to be back as a lead driver for a great manufacturer and for the remainder of the 2012 season,” commented an enthusiastic Atkinson.
“I love the tarmac so it’s great to know that three of the remaining five events are on the sealed surface and I hope to take full advantage of my past experiences of the remaining rallies this year.”
Atkinson becomes the team’s number one driver, replacing Armindo Araujo who departs the team for sporting reasons.
Germany is by no means foreign to the Gold Coast-based driver with Atkinson contesting the event on four occasions prior, with a 100% completion rate and a top result of sixth overall in 2008.
It will be the first time the 32-year-old has driven the MINI John Cooper Works WRC but the Australian is relishing the chance to explore the possibilities of the competitive machinery.
“This will be my first time driving for WRC Team MINI Portugal and the MINI John Cooper Works WRC but from the information I have gathered I’m really looking forward to seeing what the MINI is made of in Germany.”
“The car looks great and the MINI brand is all about one big, fun-loving family which is just how I like to roll back on the Gold Coast.” Atko added.
Atkinson will be looking to continue his impressive form this year which sees him lead the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship and more recently, set blistering stage times on the Neste Oil Rally Finland despite an absence of four years, from the event.
He has an impressive WRC record which consists of 69 events, six podiums, 41 stage wins and 32 points finishes.
The history of Rally Germany is quite similar to Catalunya in that it was originally formed through the amalgamation of three smaller events – the Deutschland, Hunsbruck and Saarland rallies. One of the highlights of ADAC Rallye Deutschland in recent seasons is the inclusion of the Circus Maximus superspecial stage, which runs through the centre of Trier – Germany’s oldest city.
Stages are a delight for competitors and spectators alike, with stages running through the beautiful regions along the banks of the Mosel River as well as taking crews into the Baumholder military complex with its massive, car-destroying, hinkelsteins.