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( release) AUSTRALIA’S most successful international rally driver, Chris “Atko” Atkinson, is back in the news after an impressive five outings in a factory-backed Mini John Cooper Works WRC this season.

Chris’s many fans hope his fine performance leads to a WRC return in 2013 and his first appearance in Rally Australia since 2006, especially now the event has moved to new roads in the Coffs Coast region.

He’s driven hundreds of stages since joining the WRC full-time with Subaru in 2004, yet his home event at its former base in Western Australia remains one of his favourites.

Asked to nominate the stages he would include in his ultimate rally, the Gold Coaster selects the 23km Beraking in WA as one of his top five.

Beraking, Rally Australia (WA): “For some reason I have always been fast on this stage and I just love the technical high speed sections. It’s all about carrying corner speed and commitment.”

Cassidy, Brother Rally New Zealand: “This stage is fast and flowing with lots of camber. It’s about as good as it gets for driver enjoyment, and you can push like crazy for the whole stage. I always find myself smiling driving this stage.”

St Bonnet, Rallye Monte-Carlo: “I have won this stage three out of the four times I have done it. It is extremely high speed and narrow, but when you get it right, it is really satisfying. If you don’t take some risks on this stage then you won’t be fast. A good time on St Bonnet also helped me to finish on the podium back in 2008.”

Ouninpohja, Neste Oil Rally Finland: “What can I say, this stage is just incredible.”

Penke, Rally Japan: “I won this stage in 2005 and that moved me into a podium position for the rally. I also remember it because Petter Solberg and Marcus Gronholm were fighting for the win and Marcus came up to me afterwards saying that he was flat out and that my time was pretty impressive.”

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Dallas Dogger

Dallas Dogger is one of the team of commentators for Kennards Hire Rally Australia.