Former Subaru World Rally Championship driver Chris Atkinson has talked of his relief at landing a Proton drive in this season's Asia Pacific Rally Championship after being out of the sport for the last year.
Atkinson's deal to drive a Satria Neo S2000 was announced by the British-based Proton MEM team this afternoon. He will join Alister McRae in the team for the series, which kicks off in Malaysia later this month.
"I've been out for a year and that was tough," said Atkinson, "but to be out of the sport for two years would have been way too much. I really appreciate this opportunity to work with Proton, it's going to be great to get behind the wheel and go racing again."
Atkinson tested the car briefly in Wales earlier this season and will test again close to the Malaysian Rally base in Johor before the start of the 24-25 April event. The 30-year-old Queenslander is no stranger to the Asia Pacific Rally Championship having taken a class win with a Suzuki Swift Super 1600 in 2005.
Proton team principal Chris Mellors said he was pleased to have settled his line-up.
"We've got a strong team here with Chris and Alister, both of those guys have a great deal of experience," said Mellors. "There's no doubt the competition in APRC is going to be tough, but we're really looking forward to getting out there and starting the season."