As we know, Proton has campaigned the Proton Satria Neo into rallying via MEM (a rally tuning arm based in UK, owned by rally expert Chris Mellors who actually developed the Proton PERT, aka Mitusbishi Lancer Evo 6 rebatch many years back) into the IRC (Intercontinental Rally Championship) and APRC (Asia Pacific Rally Championship) in 2009 and 2010. The Satria Neo was heavily modified and developed to participate in S2000 class, which is a lower cost version of the WRC class hence it does not share any similiar components with the road version, apart from the body.
After rather a mixed and disappointing 2010 (the car shown great potential and can score top 3 finishers; only hampered by reliability issues and bad luck), Proton is back to campaign in 2011 season by announcing it will campaign in all rounds in the IRC and APRC in 2011. Spearheaded by renowned international Rally drivers like Australian Chris Atkinson for the IRC campaign and Scottish rally driver and brother to the legend Colin McRae, Alister McRae for the APRC, Proton and together with its tuning arm R3 and MEM are putting back the Satria Neo s2000 into international rally contention.
During the recent team launch event in KL, its revealed that CUSCO, a famous tuning company from Japan, has purchases a few units of Proton Satria Neo to convert them into Group N (Group N regulations are very limited in scope to improve the car’s performance) spec rally cars to be sold to Japan. Clearly, this shows even the Japanese has started to acknowledged our 2 door hatch that it can perform well especially on rallying. There might be future performance parts developed by Cusco for the Satria Neo, so things should be interesting for us.
The Satria Neo is indeed a fabulous car to drive due to its superior ride and handling, but what it needs is a good engine and performance as the Campro is sadly lackluster. With the help of CUSCO, perhaps things will sparkle on the performance department.
Meanwhile, Proton has just signed Finnish double FIA Junior World Rally Champion, PG Andersson, for the upcoming IRC round at the famed Monte Carlo rally on 18-22 January. As the writer is a avid follower of motorsports, we will be covering Proton’s participation in this legendary rally. We can’t wait for that!