The 2012 Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) kicks off at Brother International Rally of Whangarei in New Zealand on 30 March-1st April 2012 and team Proton R3 Motorsports are there to defend the APRC driver’s and team title they proudly won last year. This year we see Swedish PG Andersson has taken the second Satria Neo S2000 seat, adding the APRC rounds into his rallying campaign this year, and replacing Australian Chris Atkinson who has jumped ship to MRF team with the fast Skoda Fabia S2000.
PG Anderson drove well on the day one of the rally, but tyre puncture on PG’s Satria Neo S2000 means lost of time for PG. Alistair meanwhile was on an disadvantage as the first car to start the rally, and with his road-sweeping duties he is unable to push the car, leaving other competitors with clearer roads were able to push faster. By the end of day 1, PG was in second while Alistair on sixth, while Chris in on first. On day two, PG has shown he has as a serious driver competing in APRC, by winning almost all the special stages (SS) on day 2 to catch his lost time against the Skodas. In the end, Chris won the rally with a mere 20++ seconds advantage over PG’s charge.
So for team Proton, PG secured a well deserved second place while Alistair gets forth place, while team MRF’s Gaurav Gil separates the Proton duo. If it is not the tyre puncture, Proton might have secured 1-2 but like any forms of motorsports, anything can happen, which I believe the Proton team understands this well during the past. So the Skodas has drawn first blood but with 5 more rounds to go, expect a very tight and close rivalry between the Skodas and the Protons in the main 4WD category in this year’s APRC.
PG looks alot confident this year with Proton!
Good race for PG and team Proton
On the 2WD category, Proton has field a great number of Satria Neos with the usual suspects of Akira Bamba, Karamjit Singh and new to APRC, Malaysia young and promising rally driver, Kenneth Koh. The Flying Sikh has won the APRC 2 wheel category rally, while Kenneth did reasonably well with second place finish in the Junior category. The Junior category was won by New Zealander Michael Young who was also driving the Proton Satria Neo as well.
Hopefully we can see Kenneth in the Satria Neo S2000
The next rally will be at New Caledonia on end of April 2012. Until then looks like Proton has finally met their match from the Skodas in the APRC. On that note, looks like APRC 2012 will be a blast to watch!