Atko maintains third in WRC title
- 19th May 2008, 8:16am
The Gold Coast driver earned three more series points for his weekend's work, taking him to a total of 31 from the first six events of the 2008 World Rally Championship season.
Mikko Hirvonen still leads the Championship after finishing second in this event, moving his total to 43. Four-time World Champion Sebastien Loeb, who took the honours and the maximum ten points in Sardinia, is second with 40 points.
Atkinson finished the last day of Rally Italia where he started, merely keeping his sixth spot on the leader's board across the final five competitive stages.
He had little to gain by attacking, as the overnight fifth was over one minute in front, and Henning Solberg was seventh, nearly two minutes in arrears. So the Queenslander merely took the safety-first option and brought the car home.
While it was not the result Atkinson wanted, it bettered his previous best in Sardinia, a tenth in 2007.
Loeb's victory, the 40th of his career, was secured by just 10.4 seconds over Hirvonen. Jari-Matti Latvala was in third place, a further 4.7 seconds back, making it one of the most fiercely contested events of the season. He is now fourth in the Championship with 24 points, seven behind the Australian.
Atkinson completed the seventeen stages and 346 competitive kilometres a total of five minutes 8.6 seconds behind the leader.
The 28-year-old and his team endured a tough three days and Atkinson was glad to have the job completed without any major incidents.
"OK, it’s good to get more points and to still be third in the championship, but it's definitely not been an easy weekend," Atkinson said.
"I drove the best I could and made no mistakes, and there’s not a lot more to say. We always knew it was going to be a tough weekend."
The next round, the Acropolis Rally in Greece gets underway on May 29.
Final results – Rally Italia
1. S LOEB, CITRÖEN, 03:57:17.2,
2. M HIRVONEN, FORD, 03:57:27.8, 10.6
3. J LATVALA, FORD, 03:57:32.5, +1504.7
4. G GALLI, FORD, 03:58:59.7, 01:27.2
5. D SORDO, CITRÖEN, 03:59:22.8, 23.1
6. C ATKINSON, SUBARU, 04:02:25.8, 03:03.0
7. H SOLBERG, FORD, 04:03:18.2, 52.4
8. U AAVA, CITRÖEN, 04:03:38.5, 20.3
WRC Driver's title after 6 rounds
1. M Hirvonen, Ford, 43
2. S Loeb, Citroen, 40
3. C Atkinson, Subaru, 31
4. J Latvala, Ford, 24
5. D Sordo, Citroen, 21
6. G Galli, Ford, 17
7. H Solberg Ford, 11
8. P Solberg, Subaru, 9
SUBSCRIBE BELOW TO READ THE FULL STORY
By clicking "Subscribe Now" you agree to receive news, offers and updates on RallySport Magazine. If you do not wish to receive marketing communications, you can update your preferences in My Account.
We will commence charging your payment method after the 7 day free trial expires. If you cancel after expiry of your trial, cancellation will take effect from the end of your current monthly subscription period. You will not be refunded any fees paid to RallySport Magazine unless otherwise set out in the terms and conditions.