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The Mercury Cars Guide : April 4th 2009
Saturday, April 4, 2009 Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au Atkinson ready and raring to go Chris Atkinsonwasonthe FormulaOnetrack last weekendashelooks to get his World Rally career back into gear. PaulGoverreports the first time soon — had a series of meet-and-greet ap- pointments at Albert Park in search of the sponsorship he needs to resume his rallying. He is not expecting an S instant return but predicts he will be back in action before the halfway point of the 2009 season, with Repco Rally Aus- tralia later in the year as a definite. ‘‘I’m pretty hopeful. We’ve got a few leads,’’ Atkinson said during his flying visit to the Australian Grand Prix. Atkinson lost his spotwhen Subaru withdrew from the WRC,but proved his pace in a pacey one-off run with the Citroen junior team in Rally Ireland at the start of the season. ‘‘I think people know what I can do. We have to wait and see,’’ he said. ‘‘We’re still sorting through PEEDY young Queenslander Chris Atkinson —who will become a father for a few things and working on a few ideas. ‘‘We hope to do a rally as soon as possible.’’ Atkinson returned to his home on the Gold Coast after the Subaru collapse and has dropped to just 67 kilograms —three down from his usual ’fighting’ weight — thanks to intensive training including bicycle races with former World Superbike champion Troy Bayliss. ‘‘I’m probably training as hard, if not harder, than ever. Ive probably ridden 300km this week on my pushbike,’’ he said. ‘‘I’ve got a lot of motivation to go back there and start racing again.' Atkinson said he has been encouraged by the results of former team leader Petter Solberg. The one-time world cham- pion struggled as much as the Aussie with a flawed Subaru Impreza in recent seasons but scored a podium in Cyprus— only his third start in a Citroen Xsara. ‘‘It’s good to see Petter doing so well,’’ Atkinson said. ‘‘On the gravel, he was the fastest of everyone in Cyprus. ‘‘Considering its a four- year-old car, that’s great. It gives us a boost. ‘‘We’re pretty confident of what we could do with one of those cars in a factory team.’’ Atkinson’s top priority is to return to Citroen, but the French carmaker—despite a string of crashes by its young- sters—is looking for a paying driver. And he is not inter- ested. There is a chance he could step back to a Super 2000 car in the International Rally Challenge, as a group of man- ufacturers is contesting the second-string series and look- ing to graduate to the world championship when new rules make their cars eligible. ‘‘We’re planning a season now with the sponsors we have. We’re still looking — FAST: Australian and Citroen Junior Team driver Chris Atkinson drives a Citroen during the FIA World Rally Ireland.Picture: AFP PHOTO/PETER MUHLY it’s difficult in this environ- ment,’’ Atkinson said. Atkinson bumped into for- mer motorcycle world cham- pion Mick Doohan during his visit to Albert Park and also spoke to Neal Bates, who would happily put him into one of his ex-factory S2000 Toyota Corollas for Rally Australia. ‘‘We know how good Chris is. It would be great to have him for Rally Oz, but I’m hoping he will be back in a World Rally Car before then,’’ Bates said. Atkinson expects to stay in Australia for at least another two months, although he is ready to hit the WRC the moment he gets a call. ‘‘I think there is more chance of finding sponsors here in Australia at the mo- ment and I’m working on that,’’ he said. ‘‘When I feel the time is right, I’ll go back. ‘‘I’d like to get to some events, but I know what goes on so I don’t need to hang around in the service area.’’ training as hard, if not harder, than ever. I’ve probably ridden 300km this week on my pushbike ‘ ’ NEW KOLEOS 4X2 FROM $30,990* I’m probably CARSguide —19 Metallic paint shown available at extra $800 Order now for the best deal on a Koleos. 2.5L petrol engine 6-speed manual ESP + 6 Airbags Auto lights and wipers 17" Alloy wheels Dual zone climate control Cruise control with speed limiter ABS (with Electronic Brake Distribution and Emergency Brake Assist) Hurry to your nearest Renault dealer. For more information visit renault.com.au *RRP for 4x2 Dynamique petrol 6-speed manual, plus $1,005.00 stamp duty, $1,695.00 dealer delivery, $538.00 registration and CTP insurance. # Dynamique available until 30/04/09 (offer not available on 4x2 models). Excludes government and fleet purchases. CAPITOL MOTORS 221 Elizabeth Street, Hobart, Tasmania Tel: 03 6234 7799 Fax: 03 6234 9182. REN1511/HM Free factory fi tted Satellite Navigation on Koleos 4x4 Special offer on 4x4 Dynamique with FREE# Sat Nav for the month of April.
March 28th 2009
April 18th 2009