Atkinson plans ‘smart’ drive in Rally Germany
- 24th August 2012, 8:58am
Atkinson has never rallied a MINI John Cooper Works WRC in competition before and following one-off drives with the Monster and Qatari World Rally Teams earlier this season, the security offered by an expanded programme of events means he can focus on his on-stage performance rather than when his next event will be.
“I need to be smart and not get carried away,” said Atkinson. “Dani Sordo is obviously going to be a good benchmark [in his MINI] but I can’t really expect to go the same speed as him straightaway. There are eight to 10 really quick drivers and I can easily be ninth but still be doing good times so I have to be careful not to be disappointed and think about the whole length of the rally, looking after the tyres and the set-up. It’s nice to get a few rallies under our belt, do some testing and get some rhythm of the constant driving it takes to be at the top in the world championship.”
The Australian continued: “We’ve shown we can be reasonably fast straightaway in a new car but that last little bit takes time. The potential of the car is there. The chassis is fantastic and 98 per cent the feeling is fantastic. It’s just the driver preference bits we need to work on now like the feel of the brake pedal for example.”
Atkinson admitted the fact that he’s back in the world championship full time is still sinking in. “It was all really quite last minute and I’m almost pinching myself that I’m back in the WRC, doing all the rounds in a nice environment and in a car that looks really good. Germany is a tough event to come to and be on the pace straightaway. I’ve won some stages here before so I know the speed you have to go and that’s quite committed. I still need some more time in the car to get to that level but hopefully it will come quite quickly when I get back into the rhythm.”
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