Chris Atkinson has produced the drive of his career to finish fourth in the Monte Carlo Rally, the first round of the 2007 World Rally Championship.

The Australian was fifth going into the final super special stage, trailing Ford's Mikko Hirvonen by just 0.8 of a second.

But he and co-driver Glenn Macneall set the fastest time on the final stage, beating Hirvonen by one second to take fourth place by just 0.2 of a second.

"The tyres have done an amazing job. I can't wait for the rest of the year," Atkinson said at the end of the final stage.

The Subaru pair won three stages for the rally, which was won by the Citroen C4 of Sebastien Loeb, whose team-mate, Dani Sordo, took second place. Ford's Marcus Gronholm took third place.

The result announces Atkinson as a real challenger for this year's WRC, and with the Subarus looking more competitive on their BF Goodrich Tyres, it could be a great year for the Subaru team.

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