Interview: Chris Atkinson
- 26th October 2006, 11:19am
It's been a busy week for the young Queenslander, but he had time to chat to a number of Australian journalists earlier this week. Below are excerpts of what he had to say.
How do you find Rally Australia?
Obviously it's one of my favourite events. Forget the fact that it's in Australia, it suits my style pretty well. We won at our first go in Group N and then went back last year in and won more stages than anyone. So it's been good to us. This hasn't been the best season for us and it's not easy to turn things around, but hopefully the steps that we have made have put us in with a chance, maybe of being on the podium - you never know.
You say it suits your style - expand - which of these events (WRC) have you really warmed to?
The events that are fast and narrow - I don't know why, but I just seem to be able to push quite hard in those conditions when there's not much room for error and you just have to attack the course. It seems rallies like Japan, Australia, Sweden, events along those lines, we seem to go pretty well.
How do you evaluate the season you’ve had so far?
It's hard for people to look in from the outside and see the results and say you are doing a good job, but I compare myself with my team-mates and what's going on there and, OK, we haven't been at the front, but the whole team has been a bit like that and generally we have been pretty competitive. We've had some problems but we've got by them and we've just kept working hard and I think the team respects the effort we have put in and the hard work, and that's why they are continuing with us.
Do you feel like you belong up there with Loeb and Gronholm and Solberg and these guys?
I feel like I fit in no problem at all, but I don't really care if I fit in or not I just want to get results and that's what we're chasing at the moment.
Where you are in the points standings - is that disappointing, even though Petter is not far in front of you?
It's small consolation that we're close (to Petter) on the points - we both should be a fair bit higher and that's frustrating for the whole team, but that's life at the moment. We know we are a lot better than that. When your team-mate has won the championship before and he's only a few points in front of you, then you can't be too critical of yourself, but obviously I keep looking for ways to improve.
Are you ahead of schedule in your second year in the WRC?
Maybe personally I am, but it's hard to see that in the results, and that's what matters. So you can't say we've had a good season even though we're probably driving quite well. It's not easy to look at the results and see that, but hopefully it's not tool long before we get to that situation (where our performance is reflected in the results). Sometimes you are having a good run and sometimes you are having a bad run, and we're just waiting for our time to come.
How do you get on with Petter?
We work quite hard together, and I was just out to dinner last night with him actually and talking about it. I guess it's frustrating for him probably even more so because he has been up at the top and now he's not there at the moment. It's incredibly hard for him to deal with that, so I think that when we get the package right it will suit both of us but at the moment
Second time around at rallies - is it an advantage?
It's definitely easier and you'd expect to improve on the previous year's results. I must say we've made some quite good steps forward on rallies like Cyprus and Turkey and Greece - the rallies we're not so used to, the rough and slow rallies, where I'm used to faster rallies like here. And I think we've made some big steps forward there. We're always quick in a fast rally but those slower rallies I think we’ve made some good steps forward and we were consistently fast in Greece and top four, and the same in a few of the other rallies, so I'm quite happy with the progress.
- Full access
- Exclusive news
- Store & Tour discounts