Chris Atkinson : biography
Chris Atkinson (born 30 November 1979) in Bega, New South Wales, Australia) is a professional rally driver. In the WRC (World Rally Championship), he drove for the Subaru World Rally Team from 2004 to 2008. His best finish on an individual WRC event is second, which he achieved at the 2008 Rally México and Rally Argentina. Other podium placings include third place finishes at the 2005 Rally Japan and the 2008 Monte Carlo Rally.
Atkinson is currently driving for Team MRF, and will compete in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship in 2012 as well as making a guest appearance in the World Rally Championship. Atkinson won the 2012 Asia Pacific Rally Championship. Retrieved 29th of October 2012
On 16 August 2012 it was announced that Atkinson would be the number one driver for the WRC Team Mini Portugal outfit for the last five races of the 2012 WRC season.
Re-entry into WRC (2012)
After signing with Monster World Rally Team in 2012, Atkinson raced alongside Ken Block in Mexico. Atkinson won a stage, SS12 - Leon Super Special but finished with a DNF due to mechanical failure.
Atkinson also signed up for a one-off drive in a Citroën DS3 WRC for the Qatar World Rally Team for Rally Finland. However, his medium term WRC future was granted when it was announced he would replace Armindo Araujo as the lead driver for the factory-backed WRC Team MINI Portugal in the last five rallies of the 2012 season.
Atkinson contested the last five rounds of the 2012 WRC season with the Motorsport Italia-run MINI squad to finish the year 13th in the Championship. His best result for the year was achieved at Rallye Deutschland (Rally Germany) where he secured 5th behind the wheel of the MINI John Cooper Works WRC.
At the 24 Hours Nürburgring in 2006, Chris made his circuit racing debut driving a Subaru Impreza for the Autosportif Racing UK placing second in class. From that lead a drive in the 2007 Bathurst 12 Hour again in a Subaru Impreza where he finished first in class and second outright. In 2009 he competed in the third round of the Australian Mini Challenge co-driving with two-time Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series Champion Steve Owen finishing second in the 30-minute endurance race.http://www.natsoft.com.au/cgi-bin/results.cgi?12/07/2009.TVSC.R7
Proton R3 Rally Team
In April 2010, Chris Atkinson began a partnership with the Proton R3 Rally Team. Competing in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), Atkinson drove a Proton Satria Neo Super 2000, alongside co-driver Stephane Prevot. Also driving for the Proton R3 Rally Team was former WRC driver Alister McRae.
After making a guest appearance at the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) Monte Carlo Rally, Atkinson has dominated the 2011 APRC, winning the Malaysian Rally, Rallye de Nouvelle Caledonia and the International Rally of Whangarei. However missing round two in Queensland and the final round in Hokkaido saw him finish second to his team mate Alister McRae who competed in all rounds.
Atkinson's first world rally was the 2004 Rally New Zealand in a Subaru Impreza WRX STI. For 2005, he was signed by Subaru World Rally Team to drive the Subaru Impreza WRC alongside 2003 world champion Petter Solberg. He finished 12th overall in the drivers' world championship with 13 points. His best results were third in Japan and fourth in Australia.
After finishing the 2006 season tenth overall in the drivers championship with 20 points and a fourth place as his best finish, Subaru told Atkinson that his job was on the line, and if he could not balance his speed with safety and achieve quality results he would be replaced by another driver.
At the start of the 2007 season Atkinson finished fourth at the 2007 Rally Monte Carlo, recording three stage wins. On the final day of the rally, Atkinson was 0.8 seconds behind fourth place man Mikko Hirvonen and had to beat him in the super special stage, a 2.4 km run through Monaco which uses part of the world famous Formula One course. Hirvonen set a time of 1:50.9 meaning that Atkinson had to at least set a time of 1:50.1 to beat him, but Atkinson did better and took the stage win with a time of 1:49.9. Hirvonen was the first person over to Atkinson to congratulate him.
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