Rally car driver on show
WHITSUNDAY motosport enthusiasts were in for a visual treat as professional rally car driver Chris Atkinson hit the track at the Whitsunday Raceway on the weekend.
Atkinson was in the Whitsundays as guest of Abell Point Marina’s Paul Darrouzet who invited the Australian rally driver to test out his 1971 Ford Capri Perana classic on the custom-built racing track.
The pair first met during an ice-driving rally course in Norway four years ago, and Darrouzet has followed Atkinson’s career ever since.
Atkinson said Darrouzet was keen on getting some quality track time before competing in the Sydney to London Classic Marathon Rally in April.
“It’s a great track that proved to be testing in the wet for a 1971 rear-wheel drive rally car but we both had big smiles on our faces after a few laps,” Atkinson said.
“It’s great to see that a facility of this quality is available for the Whitsunday community.”
Atkinson was in the Whitsundays for three days, before flying out to Mexico on Saturday afternoon to begin training for round three of the World Rally Championship (WRC).
Atkinson will drive the #8 Hyundai i20 WRC as part of the Hyundai Shell World Rally team which will be held at Rally Mexico in March.
The 34-year-old will be joined by his co-driver Stephane Prevot in the second Hyundai i20 WRC to be entered into the event.
He will be competing alongside the team’s lead driver Thierry Neuville in the Hyundai i20 WRC #7 at what is predicted to be one of the toughest rounds of the WRC season.
Atkinson first joined Hyundai Motosport as a test driver in July last year and will be making his competitive debut in the #8 car at Rally Mexico - an event where he scored his best ever WRC finish in second place in 2008.
Whitsunday Motosports Club president Andrew Auld said it was a great boost for the region to have a driver of Atkinson’s calibre in the Whitsundays.
RALLY KING: Whitsunday Motosports Club representatives Adam Stroud and Andrew Auld caught up with professional rally car driver Chris Atkinson and Paul Darrouzet with his 1971 Ford Capri Perana classic rally car which was put to test at the Whitsunday Raceway on Saturday.