ATKO TARGETS WORLD RX SEAT IN 2016
Last week, Australia’s Chris Atkinson announced that he is planning to enter World RX in 2016. The former World Rally Championship star knows a thing or two about some of the drivers in World RX already; he was team mate to reigning champion Petter Solberg in the WRC.
We caught up with ‘Atko’ to find out more about his plans.
What aspect of World RX is making you most want to be involved?
"The sport has very similar skills to rally - I want to be competitive at whatever I do and I feel like my experience would help, but also it is a big challenge and a new challenge so this is interesting to me."
Do you have any previous racing experience?
"I have done several circuit races but no rallycross, so for sure it will be a bit of a shock. But, I see how well some of my former rally team mates are doing so I think it is possible to adapt."
Have you driven anything with the kind of power and acceleration of a World RX Supercar previously?
"I have driven a couple of things similar, which where awesome. A Group B RS200 which was modified and had 800bhp. Also I have driven a sprint car, which was 900bhp and 600kg. That was crazy and so much fun."
What would it be like to line up against drivers like Petter Solberg and Manfred Stohl, who you previously competed against in rallying, but now wheel-to-wheel rather than on a special stage?
"It would be great fun, many times before we have had go-karting races with everyone and it was carnage! It would be great to race against them, because you could race close and trust each other’s ability."
The championship is very competitive, how do you think you would get on initially?
"I don’t underestimate how difficult it would be, especially learning the tracks when you are looking for tenths of seconds. Also you need a good team and spotters to help with this challenge. I have always had good speed on Super Special stages in rally, winning many, so I think it would suit my driving style. But, in rallycross there are so many other factors that can affect your result."
What do you expect to be the biggest challenges for you to adapt to?
"I think the strategy will be the most important, choosing the right time to take risks."
Is 2016 planned to be a toe in the water, or are you targeting a full campaign?
"It depends on the opportunity. You need a good team. The best way to learn would be to do as much racing as possible and do the whole season."
Do you watch many of the World RX events on television or online?
"We have it live on FOX sports in Australia, so it is cool to see it. It’s great because it’s all packaged together so you can watch it in just a couple of hours."
What do you think of the current growth of World RX?
"It looks like the crowds are really impressive and into it, the atmosphere must be amazing. Speaking with Manfred Stohl, he said it is crazy and so intense. It sounds awesome."
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