Here’s what happen to the motorsports chronicles of Proton in the rallying world. Let us start with rallying in the recently concluded Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC).
Last weekend (1-2 Oct) was round 5 of the APRC in Hokkaido, Japan and the team Proton Motorsports was on the verge of winning the drivers and manufacturer’s title after Chris Atkinson won 3 out of 4 rounds previously. However, that took a setback when Chris Atkinson was sadly forced to retire at SS9 due to blown engine, after leading the overall drivers race until SS9. That leaves to teammate, Alister McRae to raise the Proton Satria Neo’s flag and after suffering from tyre puncture on the first day. He did managed to fight back and finally managed to finish third overall, just few seconds behind Mitsubishi Evo X drivers of India’s Gaurav Gill and Japan’s Katsuhiko Taguchi.
McRae raising the flag for Proton in Japan
Setback aside, Proton however took home a title in Japan when the dominant drive from the two Group N 1600 Satria Neo of Karamjit Singh and Akira Bamba means they took home first and second position in the APRC 1600cc Two Wheel Drive category. Japan’s Akira Bamba also has won the inaugural FIA APRC Junior Championship title. More impressively, the two Satria Neo is just in between a sea of much faster and powerful Evos and Imprezzas. This rally will definitely increase the Satria Neo’s profile in Japan and let us hope more Japanese rally drivers will pick this car for future rallies.
Before this article is uploaded, we just received news that the race winner, Gaurav Gill got disqualified by the stewards for a technical infringement. This means Alister Mcrae promoted into second place and leads Atkinson by seven points in the driver’s standing. Even better news, this means the driver title can be won by either McRae or Atkinson and it will be decided on the finale in China, on November. While the driver title is in Proton hands, Proton has also obtained a great chance to take the manufacturer’s title for the APRC as well!
Proton is big, in Japan!
Good participation from Proton Cusco Satria Neo in Japan
A week ago (22-24 Sept) is where round 10 of the Intercontinental Rally Championship was held in Rallye Sanremo , Italy. This is also the home rally for Italian ace, Giandomenico Basso and expectation on him is high since he did win the rally back in 2008. Chris Atkinson replaces PG Anderson for this round for this one off only but however his rally ended early in SS1 as he went off road. Basso at least brought cheers to the Proton team by finishing on tenth spot, earning the driver and team Proton the final championship point, behind a sea of Skodas and Peugeots.
Basso did reasonably well in San Remo
To be honest, speed is not the Proton Satria Neo S2000 strength, as in the APRC, the naturally aspirated Proton is in disadvantage on gaining speed compared to the faster turbocharged Mitsubishi and Subaru. Also in the IRC, Proton is still no match compared to leaders in Skoda Fabia S2000 and Peugeot 207 S2000. While reliability is still a concern, how far this Proton Satria Neo S2000 will go as the car is showing its age and yet still the drivers feel the car’s potential? I hope they do better by the end of the year where there are still a few rounds of APRC and IRC remaining in 2011.
Still, our congratulations to Proton Motorsports for the APRC driver’s title!
[SOURCE: Proton Motorsports]