Nurburgring challenge awaits Atkinson - RallySport Magazine
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Nurburgring challenge awaits Atkinson

Subaru World Rally Team driver Chris Atkinson is in Germany preparing for the 34th running of the Nurburg 24-hour touring race to be held this weekend at the legendary Nurburgring circuit.

Atkinson will swap his rally-bred Impreza WRC2006 for a 2006 Spec C Impreza WRX STI and go head-to-head racing in the hope of bringing home top honours in the SP6 class (for cars of 3001-3500cc and two-litre turbo-equipped cars).

The Queenslander will be joined by Alan van de Mewre, Phil Bennett and Jonathan Price in the Autosportif Racing GB team.

The Nurburg race will be Atkinson’s first endurance event.

“It’s a very different challenge. I’ve been out learning the track, getting in as many laps as possible. It’s a 25 kilometre track with a lot to learn. There are a lot of tricky corners with bumps, not really like a normal race track.”

“There are a lot of Australian guys over here who have done touring cars before and they can’t believe it as a track and reckon it’s going to be a fair challenge.”

“The car we are using is like the World Rally Car. It’s got a bit more power. It’s a similar weight and a similar aero package, so for me it is not much different car-wise, which is a good thing, and if it rains we’ve got the All-Wheel Drive Subaru up against the two-wheel drive cars.”

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“We’ll generally do stints of up to two hours, so with three other drivers it spreads things out a bit.”

“I’m more laidback here (than at a WRC round), it is totally different for me. It’s good to be part of this atmosphere and with 200-odd cars on the grid and a huge crowd it’s going to be pretty exciting.”

“It is one of those places that can change very quickly and the track is renowned for having rain and fog, particularly in the night time periods. It is good now but the locals are predicting it will change for the event.”

In Europe, there are three main endurance events annually: the Le Mans 24 Hours in France, the 24 Hours at Spa-Francorhamps (Belgium), and the Nurburg 24 Hours.

Qualifying for the race takes place on Friday, June 16, with the race itself commencing on Saturday June 17 at 15:00 (23:00 AEST). Over the 24 full hours, the front-running cars are expected to cover somewhere in the region of 3,500-kilometres.

To listen to the Chris Atkinson interview in full:

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