S-WRC: PROTON LEADS FROM FORD AND SKODA IN RALLY SWEDEN
SWEDEN, 11 February 2012 – The Satria Neo S2000 of Per Gunnar Andersson currently leads the 2012 FIA Super World Rally Championship (S-WRC)
contenders in Rally Sweden with more than a two minute lead over his nearest rival.
At the end of nine special stages, Andersson has the advantage of a 2 minute 6 second lead over Ford’s Craig Breen, with Skoda’s Pontus Tideman a further 1 minute 59 seconds behind. Andersson is also him 13th overall in the rally. The three drivers were head to head up until the eighth special stage when Andersson made the best of his home rally to stretch his lead to 1 minute 25 seconds over the 20.97km Finnskogen route. Andersson set fastest times in five of the day’s nine special stages.
PG Andersson/Emil Axelsson at a corner in Proton Satria Neo S2000
“We are going really, really fast. The car is better than ever and we’re going for it!,” said an ecstatic Andersson, who together with co-driver Emil Axelsson in the Satria Neo S2000 has driven PROTON to its second consecutive rally lead after Monte Carlo for a phenomenal start to the 2012 S-WRC season.
Andersson last won Rally Sweden in 2010 competing in the S-WRC category. He led last year’s rally in a Ford Fiesta during the opening stage but rolled his car into retirement. Andersson had also won in Sweden in 2006 contesting in the Junior World Rally Championsip (JWRC).
The day’s rallying however, brought about mixed fortunes for PROTON. Reigning Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) winner Alister McRae became stuck in the snow 13km into special stage three and was unable to continue.
Several other drivers were also caught out by the tricky conditions, especially after hitting the soft snow banks. McRae however, will rejoin the rally the following day. His participation also marks his return to the World Rally Championship circuit after a long break with his last and seventh appearance in Sweden in 2004.
“Going by the results of the first two days and looking back on what we very nearly achieved in the opening round in Monte Carlo last month, Andersson and the Satria Neo S2000 has certainly driven home a strong message that PROTON
is a serious contender in this year’s S-WRC championship,” said Datuk Abdul Razak Dawood, Head of Proton Motorsports.
“Where we are today and with all the development that has taken place, it is without a doubt, PROTON is a step up from where we were last season in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC).”
Rally Sweden continues with eight special stages and crossing the county border to Dalarna to run classic routes in Sagen and Fedriksberg, while the fourth and final day of rallying will be run over six special stages in the area of Hagfors. The rally has attracted a total of 85 entries and will be contested over 24 special stages covering a competitive distance of 360km.