It was a mixed affair by the end of round two of APRC in Queensland, Australia for the Proton teams. Perhaps let’s start with the bad news first.
Unfortunately Chris Atkinson’s home rally suffered a setback as he was forced to retire on the first day of the rally after leading three stages due to electrical issues. To add salt to the wound, when he rejoin the rally in day two, electrical glitches struck the S2000, forcing him to retire in the rally permanently.
Alister McRae meanwhile didn’t suffer as badly as Atkinson and managed to finish the rally in fourth overall. Problems with water ingestion and finally a broken driveshaft over 50km of special stages at the end of the day ruined their rally. It’s like deja vu once again, as reliability issues caused the two Satria Neos to retire in last year’s edition. The rally was won by three time British Rally Champion Mark Higgins, followed by Indian Gaurav Gill. Japanese driver Katsuhiko Taguchi was third.
Here’s the good news, Karamjit Singh, Malaysia’s rally hero who drove the second Proton Satria Neo by Cusco, took first place in the 2WD Asia Cup series, defeating Japanese teammate Akira Bamba. They both classified as 9th and 11th in overall standing.
Despite the setback by the main Proton Motorsports team, the flying Singh has raised our flags high in the rally. What makes this victory even more significant that he did this with funds collected from his close friends and family, not though any sponsorship. We shall be following the Proton Satria Neo in the third round of APRC, Rallye de Nouvelle Caledonie in New Caledonia which will take place from 17th to 19th June 2011. Our massive congratulations to Karamjit Singh!