The headlines for the recently concluded Sepang 1000 km (S1K) 2019 endurance race were mostly grabbed by Team Proton R3 for finishing first and second overall, but it was the third entrant by the team that surprised the most.
Car 82, the Proton Saga driven by an all-women driver line-up consisting of Leona Chin, Faye Kusairi, and Nurul Husna, came home a respectable seventh overall, which set the record for the best result for an all-ladies drivers line-up.
This result was especially impressive when you consider that this effort was the first time all three ladies have been in the same car together. A technical issue during qualifying also relegated the team to start at the last position (26th) on the M-Production class grid.
Despite the set back, the ladies performed admirably throughout the nine hours of gruelling racing, methodically working their way up the field to mount a thrilling comeback.
Team Proton R3 Driver Faye Kusairi said, “The S1K was extremely memorable and surreal for me. I am amazed we finished seventh from 26th on the grid but it proves how quick the Proton Saga and our trio of drivers really is. To be honest, I really feel that if we were given another chance, I think we can make it up on to the podium.”
The results also proved the natural ability of the Proton Saga as a competent track car. As the production car was only launched in August 2019, the development team faced a monumental challenge to get the Saga ready in time for the race.
Proton Chief Executive Officer Dr Li Chunrong said, “This year’s car is brand new and despite the very short timelines, the results have been very impressive. This therefore proves the Proton Saga is capable of performing in a variety of environments, from daily commuting to family outings and competing in Malaysia’s biggest race, making it truly a Malaysian favourite.”