Chris Atkinson kept it simple and uncluttered to maintain his overnight lead at the Brakes Direct Rally of Queensland and gave Team MRF its third podium finish in the Pacific leg of the Asia-Pacific Rally championship here on Sunday.

Atkinson — who had won seven of the nine legs on Saturday thus assuring himself of the title — finished 3:57:9 seconds ahead of Team Proton's Alister McRae to ease into his second top finish this season.

Brian Green of Brian Green Motorsports was third.

Almost throughout the 70 km run on Sunday's stages, Atkinson hardly broke a sweat. “I was not pushed and did not want to take any risk,” he said after his victory.

The stages remained tricky despite bright sunshine. “Some places were dry and some stayed wet due to tree covers,” Atkinson said, adding, “I remained focused and was not too bothered about the margin of lead.”

“The Big Derrier stage, the longest runoff 34.46 kms was the toughest but I had complete control,” Atkinson said.

“Three out of three for MRF is a very good start, we hope to carry on the good work further,” he said. “I hope we continue in the same way in the remaining three legs in Asia.”

“With some good luck Gaurav (Gill) too would have been on the podium,” Atkinson added. “He is very good; sad it had to end this way for him.”

Gill, on his part, put Saturday's disappointment behind him to win seven out of the eight stages on Sunday.

But having withdrawn the earlier day meant he could garner only a few points for the wins.

“I was devastated, but I had to prove a point, that I too am as good. It has been a good experience and hope luck stays on my side,” Gill said. 

Defending champion McRae too kept his spot on the standings and though Per-Gunnar Andersson pushed hard he could not manage to get past Brian Green for the third spot.

The results: 1. Christopher Atkinson (Team MRF, 2:20:52.4), 2. Alister McRae (Proton, 2:24:50.3), 3. Brian Green (Brian Green Motorsports, 2:36:12.0). 

Keywords: Team MRF

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