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Chris Atkinson (Hyundai pic)PHOTO: Chris Atkinson is keen for more WRC action (Hyundai pic)

AFTER finishing 10th at the FIA WRC Rally Australia, Chris Atkinson made it clear he enjoyed his home event, but the competitor in him is not satisfied with the result.

The Hyundai driver had hoped to make a better impact at Coffs Harbour, but was unable to finish where he wanted. Pre-event he declared a top five position was the aim.

His Hyundai Shell World Rally Team achieved its primary objective for Coates Hire Rally Australia, with all three Hyundai i20 WRC cars completing the 20-stage event inside the top 10.

For Atkinson, the rally was just his second WRC event of the season with Hyundai after a sixth place finish in Mexico in March.

It was a tough rally for him. He struggled to find a good rhythm, which led to an early position on the road and further impeded his progress.

Nonetheless, his drive helped the team to learn more about the performance of the i20 WRC on the Australian gravel surface, which will be hugely important for next season.

“I’ve had a pretty steady run today and the car was working perfectly. We’ve not been in a position to fight for anything so it’s been important just to bring the car home, so the team can pick up as much information as possible,” he said.

“The stages today have been in a good condition and the crowds have been phenomenal. It’s not been the easiest of weekends as I struggled to get into a rhythm early on in the rally and that has had a knock-on effect for the remaining days, as I was first on the road.

“That has dictated the extent I have been able to push so instead we just focused on finishing the rally. It’s nice we’ve been able to get all three cars inside the top 10.”

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Chris Nixon

Chris Nixon is Media Manager for Kennards Hire Rally Australia.