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World Rally drivers from the Kronos Total Citroen and Subaru World Rally Teams dipped their toes in competitive waters before Telstra Rally Australia this weekend.
Chris Atkinson and Glenn Macneall joined in the beach drills with Surf Life Saving WA on Scarborough Beach, alongside the Spanish quartet of Dani Sordo, Marc Marti, Carlos del Barrio and Xevi Pons.
The drivers and co-drivers swapped helmets for beach gear as they ran along the sand performing the arduous exercises that life savers use in training for their rescue roles.
It was Sordo versus Atkinson in the final flag race, an activity that saw the two young drivers diving to claim the victory flag from Scarborough’s golden sand. Sordo came off the better, showing that he was a natural on the beach, despite this being his first visit to Telstra Rally Australia. It’s a performance he hopes will translate onto the stages.
“Everybody keeps on warning me about the Australian terrain characteristics and its difficulty,” said Sordo referring to the unique gravel surface of Telstra Rally Australia.  “They say it’s one of the toughest challenges of the championship.”
Atkinson will be hoping for dominance at his home event, and flexed muscle to his rivals in a paddleboard competition. Atkinson showed he was a natural athlete in this exercise but knows that it will be more than just driver strength that will bring success for him in Perth. “This time we have to be a realistic - we still have some work to do to get the whole package working together again,” said Atkinson referring to the handling problems that have dogged his Subaru Impreza over the last few events.
After drying off from the beach activities, the drivers will take to the Gloucester Park Special Stage in Perth on Thursday October 26, heading out to the country stages on Friday through to Sunday with the Gloucester Park Super Special running on Friday and the final time ever on Saturday. Tickets are available for as little as $20 from Ticketmaster or www.rallyaustralia.com
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