Subaru rally driver Chris Atkinson has completed three tough days of competition to finish in sixth place in the Acropolis Rally of Greece.

The young Queenslander started the event in sensational form, winning two of the first five stages to lead the rally at the lunchbreak on Friday. But after that brilliant morning he struggled with both the performance of his car and poor fortune to slip back to sixth place.

Marcus Gronholm was again victorious, taking the honours by 38.6 seconds from Sebastien Loeb. Atkinson’s Subaru team mate, Petter Solberg, rounded out the podium placings in third, one minute 34.1 behind the leader.

As the Championship goes into a nine week mid-season break, Gronholm sits on top of the table with 65 points. Loeb is second on 56 and Mikko Hirvonen third on 49. Solberg is now 5th with 26 points and Atkinson improved his tally by three points to complete the first eight rounds in seventh place with 15 points.

The Gold Coast driver started the final day in sixth and that was where he finished, with neither the pace or feeling of the opening day returning.

Despite the end result not matching the opening day promise, Atkinson believes that there is plenty to look forward to in the second half of the season.

“We definitely made a positive start to this rally, and it was more than a good road position that enabled us to do those times,” Atkinson said.

“I’d say the car was working better than it has done on the last few rallies, so that was a good sign. But unfortunately we lost some of that performance later on in the day on Friday.”

“Saturday just wasn’t our day and we suffered with some classic Acropolis problems like the punctures and damaged components.”

“In the end we weren’t able to rediscover the performance or the feeling we had enjoyed on the first morning, and that’s the challenge for us over the next two months.”

“We’re certainly getting closer, and I really hope we’ll be able to win more stages when we get to Finland.”

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