Atko will return to the rally stages this year competing for Subaru Rally Team USA who will utilise the 2018 Subaru WRX STI rally car prepared by technical partner Vermont SportsCar on selected events on the American Rally Association (ARA) Series.
The 2018 ARA season kicks off at the scenic Oregon Trail Rally on April 20-22 where Subaru Rally Team USA will enter David Higgins and Chris Atkinson to mount their championship defense.
The Australian rally star is no stranger to Subaru’s motorsports programs. Between 2005 and 2008, he was the factory driver for Subaru World Rally Team alongside the 2003 WRC champion Petter Solberg.
Atko has earned 41 WRC stage wins and 6 WRC podiums including podiums at the famous Monte Carlo Rally and Rally Mexico. Subaru signed Atkinson in late 2016 as part of the team’s rallycross efforts, where he was joined by Patrik Sandell last year, but neither driver has yet to enter any stage rallies on behalf of the team.
“I’m really excited about this opportunity to do a rally in the USA, having had a glimpse through rallycross of how awesome the Subaru fans are in this part of the world, the atmosphere will be amazing,” stated Atkinson. “It’s been a while since I’ve done a high-speed rally and I don’t underestimate the challenge, but know we have a great team and car so it will be fun. A big thanks to Subaru of America and Vermont Sportscar for this opportunity.”
In addition to the five returning ARA events the series will debut two new events in which Subaru Rally Team USA is looking forward to; The Idaho Rally (Sept 14-15) and the Tour de Forest Rally, based in Olympia and Shelton, Washington, (October 6-7). The revived Tour de Forest event, last run in 1983, represents an exciting new challenge for ARA competitors, placing teams on stage roads unseen in rally competition for thirty-five years.
The complete 2018 ARA Series schedule:
Oregon Trail Rally —– April 20-22, 2018
Olympus Rally —– May 19-20, 2018
Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally —– June 1-2, 2018
New England Forest Rally —– July 20-21, 2018
Ojibwe Forests Rally —– August 24-25, 2018
Idaho Rally —– September 14-15, 2018
Tour de Forest Rally —– October 6-7, 2018