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Chris Atkinson, the former Subaru factory driver, has talked about his excitement over the future of the FIA World Rally Championship, and his prospect of a factory drive for next season.

Ahead of Atkinson’s home event, Repco Rally Australia, several manufacturers have been linked with a move to the WRC, and the local driver feels the Championship offers something different to other motorsports - real value for money.

“I would love to have more manufacturers in the championship - obviously,” said Atkinson. “There are lots of car brands out there who can see the great value for money that the WRC offers. The WRC would cost about a tenth of anything else and you never know, they could come away with a championship win in the first year.

“Having experienced drivers like Petter [Solberg] and me really wanting to get back into factory cars, and challenge for the championship, will also hopefully be a great incentive for potential manufacturers looking to get involved.”

Having participated once this year at Rally Ireland as part of the Citroen Junior WRC Team, where he finished fifth, Atkinson is hoping the speculation of new manufacturers turns into reality as his season away from the wheel has only galvanised his desire to race even more.

Atkinson added: “I have continued to behave as if I was still driving day to day, with running and training, but being away has only made me want to come back more. It’s a bit of a waiting game at the moment to see if there are any seats for 2010 to be honest, but I want to be in a factory drive.”

Despite not driving in his home round, Atkinson will be paying special attention as his brother, Ben, will be taking part in the P-WRC as a co-driver for Cody Crocker. In addition, Atkinson’s home is less than an hour up the road from Kingscliff on the Gold Coast, so he has some inside knowledge of the area.

“Rally Australia is set to be a really good one. I imagine it will be similar to Rally New Zealand, with a great setting beneath the volcanoes and mountains.

“The surface is pretty hard packed and, despite the odd possible thunderstorm, I expect it will produce some really close stage times. Hopefully it will go down to the wire and we will see some great rallying like we had last time out in Finland.”
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