YOUNG DRIVERS LEAD PROTON’S CHALLENGE IN 2012 MALAYSIAN TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP
Proton R3 Satria Neo for MSS 2012 Round 1
Syafiq Ali will lead the pair of young drivers who will spearhead PROTON’s challenge in the Malaysian Touring Car Championship of the 2012 Malaysian Super Series (MSS) which opens at the Sepang International Circuit this weekend.
Syafiq will be joined by karting sensation James Veerappan who will be competing in his first full season of production car racing with PROTON. Both drivers will be sharing a Satria Neo in Class 2 of the Malaysian Touring Car Championship for production cars up to 1600cc.
Proton R3 drivers-James Veerappan and Syafiq Ali ready to take the challenge on MSS Round 1
Round 1 of the Championship, which act as a support race to the Petronas Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix, features two nine-lap races run on Saturday and Sunday.
PROTON takes to the starting grid as defending champion having won the title last year. Syafiq meanwhile, has the honor leading this year’s list of top contenders after finishing second last season and concluding what had been a dominant performance all year long for the PROTON R3 Racing Team.
“I enjoyed a very strong drive in 2011. My personal goal this year will be to win the championship. As a team, we have a strong package coming into 2012,” said Syafiq.
Team Principal Tengku Djan Ley Tengku Mahaleel said both Syafiq and Veerappan bring incredible speed, pace, technical knowledge and enthusiasm into the team.
“First of all both drivers are not new to the team and we have full confidence in their driving abilities. Syafiq has been driving for us for a couple of years now and Veerapan meanwhile, recently proved himself after beating Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) winner Alister McRae at the PROTON Power of One event in Bukit Jalil,” he said.
“They are both very fast drivers and they will definitely be pushing each other throughout the season and that’s good. “
Unlike last season, the 2012 Malaysian Touring Car Championship will be run as a one-hour race with each car having two drivers, with the exception of this weekend’s event in which Syafiq and Veerappan will take their turn each in the nine-lap race. The new race format is in preparation for the Sepang 1000km or S1K.
Meanwhile, Head of PROTON Motorsports Datuk Abdul Razak Dawood said the combination of young drivers to spearhead the team was in line with the car manufacturer’s commitment towards developing the country’s pool of young talent.