Chris Atkinson won the Malaysian Rally at the weekend.
Chris Atkinson won the Malaysian Rally at the weekend. JASON DOUGHERTY

Atkinson warms up for Coast rally

AUSTRALIAN driver Chris Atkinson will head to the Sunshine Coast next month boosted by his first outright victory in an international event, after dominating the opening round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship in Malaysia at the weekend.

Atkinson and his factory-backed Proton S2000 had an almost trouble-free run in the two-day Malaysian Rally.

The win put Atkinson in the early lead of the six-round Asia Pacific Rally Championship, which next visits the Sunshine Coast for the International Rally of Queensland on May 13-15.

The Monaco-based Gold Coaster, 31, scored several podium places, including a best of second, during a 2005-2008 stint with the Subaru World Rally Team.

“This result has been coming for a while. Last year we saw just how quick the car was in the APRC and now we’ve delivered the score which everybody in Proton deserves,” Atkinson said.

“It’s the best possible way to start the season As soon as we got into the car to drive it with the new suspension and engine, we knew it was going to be special.”

The Malaysian Rally has set the scene for a thrilling second round of the APRC in the Sunshine Coast and Mary Valley regions.

Tickets for the International Rally of Queensland are on sale now at, with discounts for early-bird purchasers.

The rally program includes the spectacular Caloundra Rally Shootout and the Mary Valley forestry stages near Imbil.

Other places where the public will see the cars include an evening display at Bulcock Beach, Caloundra, on May 11 and a service stop on May 14 at Kenilworth.

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