Atkinson a step closer to debut WRC win
- 12th August 2008, 4:06pm
Over the past season Atkinson has been struggling with an uncompetitive car that neither handles like it should or has the performance that is needed to beat the opposition. Nevertheless, he has still managed to record several podium positions, the highest of which was a second placing on a couple of occasions.
Chris obviously has talent to match perhaps (depending on your point of view) all but Loeb, Hirvonen and Latvala, who are so far this year proving to be uncatchable unless they make an uncharacteristic driving error. Even his Subaru teammate, Petter Solberg, has had to concede an inferior placing to Atkinson during most of the 2008 season, and on most events struggles to match the Aussie’s pace.
While it must be conceded that both Loeb, Hirvonen and (usually) Latvala are in a class of their own, Atkinson has, in just three seasons, upped the ante and is now in a position where he can challenge for the lead should these drivers make a mistake. But will Atko’s first first-place podium come this year?
While the world was blaming Solberg and Atkinson for poor results, given what Subaru have achieved at the top of the ladder before, the fault has not always been with the drivers, but more so the car. Yet they were required to persevere with an uncompetitive vehicle for the last two years, driving it beyond its capabilities in an effort to get some valuable World championship points on the board.
Atkinson has been able to achieve this more times than his teammate – even now, too, since the much-vaunted new Impreza has finally surfaced.
Subaru had been purposely holding back in releasing the new car until it was considered totally competitive, but it is fair to say that (so far) it did not deliver the giant leap forward that everyone expected. Even at the most recent WRC round, Rally Finland, Atkinson was less than happy with its speed, claiming that he found it difficult to match the pace of the other leading contenders.
If Subaru can unleash those much-needed horses that will allow their drivers to be on equal terms with the top drivers, then Chris Atkinson could at last find himself in the record books as being the first Aussie to gain a first place in a modern World Championship rally.
When it does happen, it will be richly deserved and hopefully the first of many more rally victories to come. All that he can ask for to aid him in that quest is a competitive package that delivers all that has been promised.
SUBSCRIBE BELOW TO READ THE FULL STORY
By clicking "Subscribe Now" you agree to receive news, offers and updates on RallySport Magazine. If you do not wish to receive marketing communications, you can update your preferences in My Account.
We will commence charging your payment method after the 7 day free trial expires. If you cancel after expiry of your trial, cancellation will take effect from the end of your current monthly subscription period. You will not be refunded any fees paid to RallySport Magazine unless otherwise set out in the terms and conditions.