GOLD Coaster Chris 'Atko' Atkinson will be looking to secure his second victory in the 2012 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship as the series leader heads to his home event this weekend - the Brakes Direct International Rally of Queensland.
Atkinson heads to the Sunshine Coast and Mary Valley-based event with increased confidence thanks to backing from three new sponsors in the form of Bisley Workwear and event sponsors Brakes Direct who have all thrown their support behind the Australian as he looks to make his home fans proud.
"I'm pumped to be heading back to one of my favourite events and this time behind the wheel of an awesome Skoda which has dominated the APRC this season," Atkinson said.
After a disappointing end to the event last year with mechanical retirement on both days, Atkinson will be hard-pressed to win the rally he was victorious on in 2004 competing in the Australian Rally Championship.
Currently leading the championship by eight points over his MRF Skoda teammate Gaurav Gill, Atkinson heads to the event with a win and second place finish under his belt from the first two events of the 2012 series.
Atkinson's major challengers will once again be the factory Proton team's duo consisting of Swedish driver PG Andersson and Scotsman Alister McRae.
Andersson has been fast on both events this year and is a fellow, former World Rally Championship works driver who has kept Atkinson on the limit this season.
Teammate Gill will also pose a threat with the experienced Indian gaining newly acquired knowledge from Atkinson and will continue after testing the Super 2000 Skodas on Wednesday, before the event starts on Saturday morning.
This weekend's event is the perfect occasion for Australians to get out and cheer on their country's most successful rally driver and what better scenery than the Sunshine Coast and the Mary Valley?
This year's event sees the addition of an exciting new Super Special Stage at the spectator-friendly Caloundra Airport on Saturday night as well as the relocation of Shakedown to the Nambour Showgrounds where VIP rides will also be on offer this morning.
Brakes Direct Rally Queensland, now in its 44th year, is the longest-running round in the Australian Rally Championship.