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Chris Atkinson plans to make the most of PROTON Motorsports’ team-mate Giandomenico Basso’s knowledge of the Rallye Sanremo stages when he tackles the Intercontinental Rally Challenge qualifier for the first time.

Australian Atkinson is making his second start in the IRC in 2011 having retired on January’s Rallye Monte-Carlo. Basso is a former Sanremo winner and a favourite for a top 10 finish on the asphalt event, which gets underway with the first of 13 stages on Friday afternoon.

“I’ve done the recce for this event before, but never competed in Sanremo,” said Atkinson. “It’s one of the classics and a really tough event. From what I remember some of the stages can be quite technical and then there’s the night stage, which is going to be a big challenge. But I’m pretty fortunate having a team-mate like Giandomenico, he’s got plenty of knowledge on setting the car up on these roads and for tyre choice if the weather closes in.”

Malaysian firm PROTON is sixth in the IRC manufacturers’ standings after eight events.

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