Subarus Atkinson Looking for Podium Finish

By: Anthony Fontanelle

The passing away of rally legend Colin McRae is a big blow to the World Rally Championship. The former world champion won his championship with Subaru and the team is especially saddened by his departure. This makes the rest of the season even more dramatic for the team. They are currently third in the manufacturers' championship standings behind leader Ford and second place Citroen.

The team is depending on its three drivers to perform well at the remaining races of the current WRC season. Recently, the team secured the services of Australian driver Chris Atkinson for the next seasons. The Australian recently talked with autoracingdaily.com and expressed his thoughts on how his team is getting better and what their chances of taking a win are.

The Australian driver said that at the start of the season, they were expecting to perform better than their competitors. "Unfortunately things haven't gone as smoothly as we'd hoped - such is motorsport - but we're hoping to turn it around in the second half of the year," said Atkinson. "The car's getting better all the time, the team is working extremely hard, and as long as that development keeps improving then there's every chance we'll be back on target. But overall I'm pretty happy with how I'm driving and I think personally I've done quite a good job."

The first half of the season saw Subaru being dominated by Ford and Citroen in every event and in almost every stage. The arrival of a new car for the team though made it possible for them to put up a good fight. Reliable parts such as the , drive shafts, transmission components, are essential in rally racing and the team has given the drivers a better car for the latter part of the season. "I always have high expectations, perhaps higher than are sometimes realistic, but with fourth places in Finland and New Zealand in the latter half of this year, we are definitely pushing harder than ever for a podium," said Atkinson when asked about his expectations for the remainder of the season.

Atkinson's teammate Petter Solberg is a former champion and the Aussie was asked how having a world champion for a teammate feels like. "It's a good benchmark for me really, that's the way I look at it," said Atkinson. "You're competing against everyone out there, that's for sure, and I guess the person you can most easily compare yourself to is the person in the same car as you. The fact that he has been the fastest driver in the world and won a lot of rallies means if I'm doing times near his, or beating him, then I'm doing something right," he added.

Aside from Solberg, Atkinson's other teammate is Spaniard Xavier Pons. All of these three drivers are in charge of driving the Subaru Impreza WRC over treacherous roads. Atkinson describes the car saying: "The instant response of the rally car is incredible. Most people would think that of a normal Impreza turbo, like - 'wow - the acceleration! ' But in a rally car it's a completely different world. It's pretty cool. Then, when you take that and put it on a narrow gravel road it's insane."

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