Australian World Rally Championship driver, Chris Atkinson, has shown the world what Aussies are made of. Atkinson finished the 2009 Rally of Ireland with an impressive fifth place finish under difficult conditions.
In conditions so wet that snow tyres had to be used for most of the event to combat the amount of water on the roads, Atkinson rather spectacularly hit a telegraph pole on day one. Damage to his Citro?n Junior Team C4 WRC was minimal however and by day two Atkinson had only narrowly missed out on climbing from fifth to fourth place.
For the final day of the event the rain stopped, and, although conditions dried out over the day, all three Citro?n Junior Team crews made the decision to stick with snow tyres. On the first loop of three stages Atktinson managed to claim fourth place from Henning Solberg in a Ford Focus.
?We?ve achieved our objective, but the conditions are still really marginal,? Atkinson said. ?Even though there?s no standing water, the roads are still damp and there are a lot of traps to get sucked into!?
For the second loop of stages, Atkinson and his team decided to stick with snow tyres, despite rivals selecting asphalt tyres. Sadly the decision cost Atkinson his position. ?I braked too late,? Atkinson said of the turn of events, ?consequently we lost a minute. Fourth place would have been a good result but I?m not going to be disappointed by a top five placing on such a difficult event.?
All three Citro?n Junior Team C4 WRCs made it to the rally finish with S?bastien Ogier finishing just one position behind Chris Atkinson, while Conrad Rautenbach finished in 18th place.
Of his performance Atkinson remarked, ?I was still learning the Citroen C4 WRC on this rally. The car was quick and reliable, and the Citroen Junior Team helped me to make a lot of progress with it. I hope to drive the car again very soon!?