Atkinson and team take Bathurst
By Travis Geny, Subiesport Magazine
Photos: Subaru Australia
Once again proving that the Impreza is no one-trick rally pony, Chris Atkinson and teammates Cody Crocker and Dean Herridge took second place at the Bathurst 12-hour enduro. That a rally car with three rally drivers at the helm can again show the world what the aging chassis can do, this merely cements the WRX STI's solid position in the annals of racing history.
This car is a little different than those found on race tracks in the United States in that it looks for all the world like a Group N car. No big wings or wider than stock fenders, just a plastering of the usual sponsor stickers is all that let's you know this is not just another WRX.
The car took second outright behind the winning BMW 335i which was able to exploit its straight line advantage. The Subaru team took Class B honors for All-Wheel Drive Performance Cars and another Subaru WRX STI piloted by Chris Alajajian, Neil Crompton and Grant Denyer, was fifth outright and third in class.
"The car performed incredibly well on its first outing," said World Rally Championship driver, Chris Atkinson. "It was a big change from what we normally do but it was a real highlight. We all learnt a lot and I'm sure we'd all jump at the opportunity to do this again."
All three drivers have spent many miles on stage behind the wheel of a Subaru, which has infused the team with an intimate knowledge of driving an STI quickly.
"We just kept the car neat and tidy the whole time, looking after the tyres and brakes, and we just don't have the outright speed to match the other guys," Crocker said.?0"We would have liked a bit of rain, that would have favoured us, but sadly for us it stayed dry all twelve hours in Bathurst."
Herridge proved to be the man to beat of the team, however, posting the fastest lap of 2:35.33. "This [sic] is a big day," said Herridge. "The day started with the unknown but we worked our way into the event and finished up feeling very comfortable out there. We always knew that the BMW would be hard to beat but I think we gave a very good account of ourselves."
Subaru Motorsport boss, Derek Ashby, was full of praise for the three. "Here were three guys who had never raced around this track before, up against guys who have vast experience on the mountain," Ashby said. "They showed their class. We were delighted. It seemed every time there was a safety stop, they'd just come out of a pit stop, but they were right at the pointy end for most of the 12 hours."