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ATKINSON TO WRC FOR FINAL ROUNDS

Australian Chris 'Atko' Atkinson will contest the remaining five rounds of the 2012 FIA World Rally Championship as the number one driver for the factory-supported WRC Team MINI.

"MINI has provided me with an awesome opportunity to return to the World Championship and I'm stoked to be back as a lead driver for a great manufacturer and for the remainder of the 2012 season," commented an enthusiastic Atkinson.

"I love the tarmac so it's great to know that three of the remaining five events are on the sealed surface and I hope to take full advantage of my past experiences of the remaining rallies this year."

Atkinson becomes the team's number one driver, replacing Armindo Araujo who departs the team for sporting reasons.

Germany is by no means foreign to the Gold Coast-based driver with Atkinson contesting the event on four occasions prior, with a 100% completion rate and a top result of sixth overall in 2008.

It will be the first time the 32-year-old has driven the MINI John Cooper Works WRC but the Australian is relishing the chance to explore the possibilities of the competitive machinery.

"This will be my first time driving for WRC Team MINI Portugal and the MINI John Cooper Works WRC but from the information I have gathered I'm really looking forward to seeing what the MINI is made of in Germany."

"The car looks great and the MINI brand is all about one big, fun-loving family which is just how I like to roll back on the Gold Coast." Atko added.

Atkinson will be looking to continue his impressive form this year which sees him lead the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship and more recently, set blistering stage times on the Neste Oil Rally Finland despite an absence of four years, from the event.