Australian Chris Atkinson and Belgian co-driver Stephane Prevot have won the Brakes Direct International Rally of Queensland on the Sunshine Coast today.
The win is Atkinson’s second in the 2012 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship and sees the Gold Coaster claim the prestigious Pacific Cup for the second year running.
“It’s been an awesome weekend and I can’t thank my MRF Skoda team enough for providing me with such a strong car given the tricky conditions this weekend,” commented Atkinson.
“This is the second year running we’ve won the Pacific Cup which is great to have another trophy to add to the cabinet but more importantly we’ve now extended our lead in the championship to a very healthy margin.”
Leading his MRF Skoda teammate Gaurav Gill by eight points coming into this round, Atkinson now leads the APRC by 38 points over Gill with three rounds remaining in Malaysia, Japan and China, respectively.
Atkinson was in formidable form all weekend, despite the field being full of top international driving talent, to win the event overall by 3m57s from Scotsman and former teammate Alister McRae.
The Gold Coaster becomes the first Australian to win the APRC category on home soil since Cody Crocker achieved the feat in 2009 and in the process broke his Rally QLD duck in the APRC category.
“It was great to see such a strong turnout of fans out and about this weekend,” Atkinson added.
“You always want to win but to do it in front of your home crowd is pretty special and I’m stoked to be able to finally crack the win here in QLD and to do it with such a gap over Alister makes it even more special.”
In total Atkinson picked up nine wins from 19 stages with eight of them coming on Saturday as the 32-year-old was able to coast home on Sunday with such a solid gap over his nearest rivals.
Atkinson had the added support this weekend of two great Australian businesses in Bisley Workwear and Brakes Direct who were both extremely impressed by his pace on the Sunshine Coast stages.
Round 4 of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship takes crews to Asia for the Malaysian Rally - July 14-15.
Brakes Direct International Rally of Queensland - Results
1. Chris Atkinson (AUSTRALIA)
2. Alister McRae (SCOTLAND) +3m57.9s
3. Brian Green (NEW ZEALAND) +15m19.6s
4. PG Andersson (SWEDEN) +16m08.6s
5. Atsushi Masumura (JAPAN) +18m11.0s
2012 APRC Championship Standings
1. Chris Atkinson (AUSTRALIA) – 101pts
2. Gaurav Gill (INDIA) – 63pts
3. Brian Green (NEW ZEALAND) – 52pts
4..Alastiar McRae (SCOTLAND) – 48pts
5. PG Andersson (SWEDEN) – 47pts