Atkinson optimistic after Mexico appearance

Australian missed out on his top-five target

By Franck Drui

20 March 2013 - 08:33
Atkinson optimistic after Mexico (...)

Chris Atkinson thinks he did enough on his outing with Citroen on Rally Mexico to justify more WRC appearances this year, even though he missed his own goal of a top-five finish.

The Australian, 33, was gifted a factory spec DS3 for Rally Mexico when he took the place of Abu Dhabi Citroën Total WRT driver Khalid Al Qassimi.

But Atkinson’s chances of a good points finish took a knock on stage three when he hit a rock and damaged his car’s steering.

“The target was top-five, and we ended up sixth after losing more than five minutes on the first day and then being stuck with a bad road position,” Atkinson told “I am sure we would have been fourth or fifth without being unlucky with the rock - but that’s Mexico.”

Despite missing his goal, Atkinson was satisfied with his speed when compared to the full-time World Rally Car drivers.

“It’s difficult to turn up and be straight on front-running pace against guys who are in the cars so regularly,” he explained. “But we were about 0.3 sec per km off Mikko when we didn’t have any problems, and I can see where the time was being lost.

“If I was flat-out and doing those times I would be worried, but the plan was to drive at a safe speed and I know we can go faster. Citroen are a smart team, they know the details and can see if I was doing a good job or not.”

“I would love to have a few more rallies to get up to speed and help the team with the manufacturers’ championship. But its not my decision, I have done what I can,” he added.



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