PROTON DRIVES INTO TOP 10 ON OPENING DAY IN MONTE CARLO RALLY
PROTON enjoyed an inspiring start to its 2012 FIA Super World Rally Championship (S-WRC) campaign by rallying into the top 10 at the end of the first four special stages at the Monte Carlo Rally.
Driver Per Gunnar Andersson paced the Satria Neo S2000 sensibly to finish the drama-riddled Day One of the Rally which saw several of the World Rally Championship frontrunners retiring or suffering major setbacks.
Citroen’s Sebastien Loeb inherited the lead at the Monte Carlo Rally after pace setter Jari-Matti Latvala rolled his Ford into retirement. Loeb holds more than a minute’s lead over Spaniard Dani Sordo who damaged the suspension of his Mini, followed by Petter Solberg in the Ford in third while Sebastien Ogier in the S2000 Skoda is fourth.
PROTON too was caught up in the day’s drama when Italian driver Giandomenico Basso’s charge into a sixth gear corner at the opening special stage was blinded by the sun sending him crashing into a wall and forced into an early retirement.
Andersson will start the second leg of the Monte Carlo Rally with a four-minute advantage over S-WRC rival Craig Breen in the Ford Fiesta.
“The car was fantastic throughout the day, definitely stronger and a lot quicker than the package we had last season, but the goal will be to drive sensibly to make sure that we finish in Monte Carlo,” said a delighted Andersson.
“In Monte Carlo it is crucial for the tyres to have a better grip in the icy weather and wet conditions. This means we have to be a bit more cautious on the throttle and acceleration not to mention that braking can also be very tricky. What is most important is you have to feel good and safe about the car you’re driving, and I must say that the Satria Neo S2000 has provided me precisely with that degree of confidence.”
Meanwhile, Datuk Abdul Razak Dawood, the Head of PROTON Motorsports, said to have the Satria Neo S2000 finishing in the company of the top three WRC contenders the likes of Citroen, Ford and Mini, was a tremendous boost for the team and Malaysian car manufacturer.
“We have four more days of rallying in Monte Carlo, but the results of the first four special stages have nevertheless made it an impactful debut for PROTON on the S-WRC circuit and above all, a strong indication that we are progressing in the right direction in terms of development of the Satria Neo S2000.”
Positions after SS4:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen 1h30m30.1s
2. Dani Sordo Mini + 1m04.2s
3. Petter Solberg Ford + 1m05.2s
4. Sebastien Ogier VW Skoda + 2m21.1s
5. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Ford + 2m26.5s
6. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen + 2m30.0s
7. Francois Delecour M-Sport Ford + 2m49.9s
8. Pierre Campana Mini + 4m09.7s
9. Ott Tanak M-Sport Ford + 4m14.0s
10. P-G Andersson PROTON + 4m33.8s
PG shakedown Monte 2012
About PROTON Motorsports Division
PROTON Motorsports specializes in the research, development and production of race cars, special and performance-driven road going models and performance parts for the Proton range of vehicles.
PROTON, established in 1983, is Malaysia’s largest manufacturer of automobiles, and the only full-fledged OEM car manufacturer in South-East Asia. With operations in key markets from UK to the Middle East, and across South-East Asia and Australasia, especially in countries like China and Iran, PROTON produces cars to suit a range of consumer demands and preferences.
Its offerings include versatile and reliable four-door family vehicles, two-door hatchbacks for the young-at-heart, luxurious and stylish executive sedans, spacious and affordable multi-purpose vehicles, as well as the world-renowned sports cars from Lotus. Most importantly, PROTON models are now developed with Lotus Engineering, offering customers superior ride and handling experience in every drive.
PROTON’s inception as a key driver of national development has seen the brand accelerate its learning curve through technology transfer with strategic partnerships and technical collaborations. By listening to the needs of customers, PROTON cars are now steadily on track to achieve the mission for the future, with PROTON set to become a marque which builds cars with passion and soul; cars that are a delight to drive – and a pleasure to own.