PROTON MISSES OUT ON PODIUM IN NEW CALEDONIA BUT ENJOYS CONSOLATION FINISH
PROTON concluded a challenging round 2 in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) with a series of misfortunes denying the team of a strong podium finish.
Despite starting Rally New Caledonia strongly, PROTON was not only forced to concede the lead going into the second day but also suffered one early retirement.
Defending APRC champion Alister McRae retired in the second special stage but continued on the final day under Super Rally format, winning three of the day’s six special stages to secure 7 valuable championship points.
McRae finished day 3 ahead of Skoda’s Gaurav Gill and Chris Atkinson but was not eligible for a podium finish. Guarav Gill won the rally ahead of team mate Chris Atkinson with Brian Greene in third.
Meanwhile, having led the rally on the opening day and setting fastest times in three of the four special stages, PROTON team mate PG Andersson was also forced to relinquish his lead on the second day of rallying.
Andersson’s Satria Neo S2000 experienced an abrupt loss of power as a result of a water crossing, a predicament that would later cost him to lose more than 14 minutes and dropping the Swedish driver to fourth in the APRC category.
With a large deficit to make up, Andersson however, was denied the chance of a roaring comeback on the third and final day by a second mechanical failure.
Rally New Caledonia was contested over a competitive distance of 252.82km covering 19 special stages.
“We had hoped for a repeat of last year’s double podium results in New Caledonia but the reality of rallying is such that all the hardwork and preparation is never a guarantee of a strong finish,” said Datuk Abdul Razak Dawood, the Head of PROTON Motorsports.
“Having said this we take back some consolation in the fact that the Satria Neo S2000 is at it most competitive form in the hands of both McRae and Andersson having set a blistering pace at the head of the competition”
Meanwhile, PROTON’s director of group marketing, branding and motorsport John D. Chacko said Satria Neo S2000’s performance in New Caledonia earned the team renewed admiration and respect.
“The fighting spirit of the two drivers clearly outweighed the misfortunes we endured in New Caledonia and this only goes towards strengthening our resolve as we focus on the remaining rounds in the championship.”
S2000 rally car in Rally New Caledonia