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Subaru rally driver, Chris Atkinson, will be in action at Rally Argentina this weekend, hoping he can improve on the sixth placing he achieved at the event last year.

It will be a vastly different set of circumstances for Atkinson this time around. As well as getting behind the wheel of the Impreza WRC2007 for just the third time, he will have a new man sitting next to him. Stephane Prevot will undertake his first rally calling the notes for the Gold Coast driver in the wake of the retirement of regular co-driver, Glenn Macneall, after the last event in Portugal a month ago.

Atkinson currently sits in seventh position in the World Rally Championship, having collected 10 points after the first five events.

The Queenslander has contested the Argentina event only twice before, and he knows that his sixth placing last time could have been even better.

“Rally Argentina was a mixed event for me last year, with some promising moments,” Atkinson said.

“While I finished sixth, I didn’t have a clean run, so could have potentially taken more points.”

“I quite enjoy the stages, there’s a real mixture of roads and there are some tests where you get a bit of everything thrown at you.”

“I’ll have Stephane co-driving for me for the first time in a competitive situation. I’m looking forward to working with him and we’re aiming to be competitive and bring the car home in the top five.”

The rally is a significant milestone for Petter Solberg and and Phil Mills as it marks their 100th WRC event with the Subaru World Rally Team.

The rally is based close to the sprawling city of Cordoba, which nestles in the foothills of the Sierra Chicas mountain range, about 700km north-west of Buenos Aires.

It is one of the hardest events to prepare for. The 22 special stages feature some dramatic changes in altitude and include some narrow, loose gravel tests high in the mountains as well as flat-out harder-packed sprints in the valleys.

Given it is autumn in South America, conditions can vary dramatically from stage to stage, meaning drivers may have to contend with rain, wind and fog as they charge through the mountain passes.
As with Rally Mexico in March, the high altitude of some tests means the air is thinner, and that can starve the rally car engines of power.

Many of the special stages will be familiar to the crews, because they have been included in the event in previous years. One major change, however, is the inclusion of a Superspecial inside the imposing River Plate Stadium in Buenos Aires, an event that will mark the start of the rally on Thursday 3 May.

Up to 55,000 passionate rally fans are expected to create a festival atmosphere inside the legendary football venue, which is known by locals as 'The Monumental'.

On Friday the crews will head out into the countryside to contest seven gravel stages, before the day ends with a Superspecial in Cordoba football stadium. There are nine more tests on Saturday, and then three more on Sunday before the competitive action ends with another Superspecial in Cordoba Stadium at 1305hrs (local time). The total distance to be covered during the event is 1383.14km, which includes 346.55km of competitive stages and 1036.59km of liaison.
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