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Australia’s World Rally Championship star, Chris Atkinson, has returned to Europe after spending Christmas and the New Year at home on the Gold Coast.

Atkinson spoke to RallySport Magazine just after landing at Heathrow airport, where he was awaiting a connecting flight to begin preparations for the Monte Carlo Rally later this month.

“I’m about to start a two-day test in preparation for Monte Carlo,” he said. “We are still trying different settings on the current Impreza World Rally Car, prior to the new car being debuted later in the season.”

Atkinson said that the team had tried many different settings on the car towards the end of the 2007 championship, some of which had made the car faster, and some of which hadn’t.

“Everyone tells me that I’ve got the speed, and that I need to work on my consistency,” Atkinson added. “But to be honest the car hasn’t always allowed me to get the results that may have been possible.

“Having said that, I’m really looking forward to the 2008 season, and to the introduction of the new car.

Rally Mexico, round three of this year’s championship, will be Atkinson’s 50th WRC event with the Subaru World Rally Team.

Among the changes to the regulations this year is the introduction of a control tyre (Pirelli), and the banning of the anti-deflation mousse, meaning that punctures will be rife, especially on rocky rallies such as Acropolis.

It could well suit Atkinson, who among the top-line WRC drivers, has had the most recent experience of competing without mousse inserts – in the 2004 Australian Rally Championship in a Group N Subaru.
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