Atkinson impresses on Subaru USA rally debut
Australian Chris Atkinson has had a fast, yet troubled weekend at the Oregon Trail Rally in the United States over the weekend.
Driving in his first rally in the United States, the Subaru Rally Team USA driver won seven stages over the weekend, but it was a mechanical issue on Saturday which put paid to any chance of victory.
The stage seven issue forced them to retire for the day – a frustrating way to go out of a strong position.
“(We’re) pretty bummed that we’ve had such a rare technical hiccup with the car, especially so close to the finish of the stage,” Atkinson said in a Subaru press release.
Atkinson and co-driver, Stephane Prevot, rejoined through the super rally regulations and go on to win six out of the eight stages on Sunday.
The Aussie praised his team on the overnight fix.
“The guys obviously did a great job overnight, fixing the car and getting it going again today,” he said.
Atkinson said that he was getting more comfortable with the car, and getting the setup more to what he wanted on the Sunday stages – that being reflected in the stage times.
Eight time Oregon winner, David Higgins took the top step of the podium in another of the Subaru Rally Team USA cars, while Jeff Seehorn finished in second.
Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino finished third in their classic Ford Escort RS Cosworth despite teething problems throughout the weekend.
Well-known Australian co-driver Rhianon Gelsomino also competed in the famous Oregon event, finishing in 15th position alongside American driver Eliza Coleman.
The next round of the American Rally Association (ARA) is the Olympus Rally, based in Shelton, Washinton on May 19th and 20th.