Gold Coaster Chris Atkinson has finished sixth in the latest round of the FIA World Rally Championship – Rally Mexico.
Despite losing three and a half minutes and dropping outside the top-15 on Day 1 after hitting a rock and damaging his steering, ‘Atko’ put on a rallying clinic to climb right back up the leaderboard and secure a handy haul of points for the Abu Dhabi Citroën Total World Rally Team.
Atkinson showed he still has the pace to mix it with the best of them, often matching stage times with the factory Citroën, Ford and Volkswagen drivers.
Unfortunately the rally got off to a horror start for the Queenslander when he broke the power steering of his DS3 WRC on SS3. This forced he and Belgian co-driver Stephane Prevot to make emergency repairs to replace a damaged bolt in the steering before the start of the next test.
The repairs meant Atko would check into the start of SS4, 21 minutes late, handing him a 3m30sec time penalty but the resilient Aussie fought back over the next two days with a raft of top-5 stage times to secure another fine result in what was his 75th WRC event start.
Atkinson was given the opportunity to race the factory Abu Dhabi-backed Citroën DS3 after being personally selected by the team’s regular driver Khalid Al Qassimi who was unable to contest the event due to clashing commitments.
Quotes from Atko
“I’m stoked on finishing 6th on this really tough and testing event!”
“I’d like to thank Khalid Al Qassimi and the Abu Dhabi Citroën team for giving me the opportunity to drive in Mexico. Hopefully, my performance will allow for future chances with the team, so that I can build on this experience.
“I hit a loose rock on the opening gravel stage on Friday and we were really lucky the damage didn’t put us out of the event altogether, it was a real testament to the strength of the Citroen. If we hadn’t lost all that time on Friday we would have achieved our goal of a top-5 finish so I’m really happy with my performance and glad to get the job done for Abu Dhabi Citroën Total World Rally Team.
“Rally Mexico is one of the most colourful events on the WRC calendar and this was once again the case in 2013. There were an incredible amount of spectators at the start in Guanajuato and out on the stages, and it’s great to see all the smiling faces out there enjoying our sport with us.”