Getting to know car and team: that was the minimum target; taking away something tangible, a bonus. A consistent, safe drive to the finish was the chosen style. Yet, a championship point slipped through Chris “Atko” Atkinson’s fingers in, literally, the final minutes. Having started the 19th
special stage in tenth place overall with a comfortable cushion, suspension failure was responsible for the day’s drama. Atko limped to the stage finish – five seconds too late for a world championship point.
On the third rally day the weather decided to leave the WRC circus with a final impression of “typical Wales”. Constant drizzle in Cardiff Bay once again ensured slippery, muddy special stages. Precisely the conditions the Rally Great Britain is renowned for.
“During the night before the third rally day we changed something on the set-up, which had a positive result,” said Atko. “Unfortunately a sensor failed, leaving us without a gear indicator, so the day was not as perfect as we had imagined. However, I still felt increasingly comfortable with the MINI as the rally progressed.”
Then came suspension failure. “We didn’t hit anything – at first I thought it was a puncture,” explained Atko at the stage finish.
Having lain 13th
for a considerable period of time, Atko profited from the retirement of Ott Tanäk, who withdrew from the rally on the third-last stage with suspension damage. Then, on ‘SS 19, Atko’s ill-luck struck. However, Tanäk and Atko were not the only unfortunate ones: Paulo Nobre, Atko’s team-mate in the WRC Team MINI Portugal, was forced to retire his MINI John Cooper Works WRC en route to the Port Talbot test – SS17 – with battery problems.
Result Wales Rally GB
The latest information on the exploits of the MINI John Cooper Works WRC entries on the Rally Great Britain is available at Facebook.com/MINImotorsport and Twitter.com/MINImotorsport.
Michal Kościuszko and Jarkko Nikara are flying the flag for MINI at the icy 2013 Rally Sweden, while a rally great was on hand to offer advice to Michal during his preparations.
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Michal Kościuszko enjoyed a great debut in the MINI WRC for the Lotos Rally Team at the Rally Monte Carlo. In this Q&A Michal speaks about the Monte, the MINI and his goals for the 2013 season.
Ultimate cornering, breathtaking acceleration.
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