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PROTON WINS MALAYSIAN RALLY, CLAIMS FIRST VICTORY IN APRC

JOHOR BHARU, 15 July 2012 – Alister McRae scored a victory for PROTON for a second successive year in the Malaysian Rally enroute to taking his first win this season in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC).

The defending APRC champion drove the Satria Neo S2000 to an impressive finish, starting conservatively on the first day but progressively pacing himself before piling on the pressure on the third and final day of rallying.

Finishing second overnight at the end of Leg 2, McRae was fastest on the opening stage of the third and final leg, completing the 12.46km Tai Tak Court House stretch in 10 minutes 37 seconds, 3 seconds faster than PROTON team mate PG Andersson.

Andersson who led the rally, retired at the end of special stage 10. His withdrawal however, promoted Proton R3 Cusco Rally Team’s Karamjit Singh to being the fastest of the two-wheel drive cars, finishing 4th fastest through the stage in the front wheel drive 1600cc Satria Neo, ahead of team mate Akira Bamba who was 7th and followed by Kenneth Koh in 9th. Indian driver Sanjay Takle in another Satria Neo completed the stage in 8th position.

By special stage 12 McRae’s lead grew to 24 minutes ahead of second placeman Brian Green in the Subaru Impreza WRX STi while Karamjit moved up a notch to third place. Chris Atkinson in the Skoda Fabia S2000 was placed fourth 25 minutes adrift.

“We had a brilliant and trouble-free run to the finish. We lost some time due to a puncture on the second day but were able to maintain a competitive pace and progressively push ahead to reduce the deficit significantly,” said McRae. “With unpredictible weather, the Malaysian Rally certainly reaffirms itself as a challenging event.”

This win is a testimonial of the Proton Satria’s strength and performance in one of the world’s toughest rallies. With a distance of 235.28km, the Malaysian Rally comprised 15 special stages run on gravel and taking competitors through some of the most grueling terrains on the APRC tour.

The Malaysian Rally kicked off on Friday with the ceremonial 2.5km Angsana super special stage designed for spectators and is located next to the Angsana Shopping Complex in Johor Baru. The third and final leg of the Malaysian Rally was run over seven other special stages.

Alister McRae’s winning in APRC Malaysia, Johor

PROTON WINS THIRD SUCCESSIVE VICTORY IN MSS ROUND 3

Sepang, 16 July 2012 – Syafiq Ali and James Veerapan finished with a race victory each to deliver a triumphant third successive victory for PROTON in Class 2 for production cars up to 1600cc in the Malaysian Touring Car Championship.

Second winning for Proton R3 team – Syafiq Ali & James Veerapan

Starting from pole position, Syafiq steered the 1600cc Satria Neo to victory in style, fending off stiff competition despite losing fifth gear midway through the race to complete the 10-lap race in 24 minutes 29.009 seconds, in a closely contested race to take the checquered flag 4 seconds clear of his nearest competition.

Veerapan meanwhile, won the second 10-lap race at the Sepang International Circuit with an overall time of 24 minutes 42.413 seconds. He was 7 seconds ahead of Soh Kee Koon in the Toyota Altis and Alvaro Mourato in another Satria Neo.

“This weekend was another triumphant effort from the boys at R3 and PROTON Motorsport. The team gathered around a problem that came on race day and adapted to the situation through innovation and sheer passion for the sport. And the result – back to back victories in both Race 1 and 2 at MSS,” said Veerapan.

Unlike Round 2 which was run as a one-hour endurance race, Round 3 of the championship was run as two 10-lap sprint races with twice the number of championship points up for grabs.

“I qualified on pole position in our class, had a very good start and managed to pull into the lead. But on lap 5, I lost fifth gear. However, I managed to hold on and finished the race as the winner. Overall, it has been a good weekend and I would like to thank PROTON and the entire team for a great race weekend. Our two race victories have significantly strengthened our claim for the title this year,” said Syafiq.

Victory in three rounds also not only underlines the Satria Neo’s competitiveness in circuit racing and in grueling competitions such as rallying, but reaffirms its reputation as a race-winning contender.

“CONTINUING OUR HERITAGE OF EXCELLENCE AND COMMITMENT TO WIN”

-The Proton S2000 Rally Team-

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PROTON WINS RALLY OF THAILAND

Bangkok, 1 July 2012 – PROTON rallied to a crushing victory to win Rally of Thailand.

Proton Rally Team – Podium 1st in Rally of Thailand

Current British Rally Championship leader Tom Cave drove remarkably in his debut as a factory driver for PROTON enroute to setting fastest time in 11 of the rally’s 13 special stages, and to win by a margin of more than 10 minutes.

Piloting the Satria Neo S2000, Cave delivered a strong performance for PROTON which made for an impactful return to the Rally of Thailand after many years of absence, finishing ahead of Brian Green and Fleur Pedersen from Brian Green Motorsports and Wittaya Ruegchan and Pramote Somjarassuwan from the Thai Beer/Maxima Rally Team.

It was also Cave’s first time competing in the rally as well as in the Far East.

“It could not have ended better considering the many firsts – it was my first drive for PROTON Motorsports, my first visit to Rally Thailand and the Satria Neo S2000’s first time competing in the kingdom,” said an excited Cave.

“The Satria Neo S2000 was very well suited to the grueling, tight and twisty terrain. We had an exceptionally good run and were able to stretch our lead from the very start and maintain a competitive pave throughout.”

The 21-year-old was co-driven by Craig Parry, and had previously driven a privately-owned and works supported Satria Neo S2000 on selected FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) and Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) events in 2011.

Victory in Thailand also reaffirms the Satria Neo S2000’s competitive engineering and rally superiority, where the Satria Neo S2000 had rallied PROTON’s Alister McRae to the 2011 Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) driver’s title. PROTON had also shot into rallying history by becoming the first manufacturer to win an unprecedented eight individual titles in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) in 2011, winning not only the coveted Manufacturer’s and Driver’s Championships, but also the 2 Wheel-Drive and Junior Championships in only its first full season of the championship.

As an automotive manufacturer, PROTON’s participant in the rally scene is significant as the Company strives to push forward its aspirations – and motorsports provides an avenue for PROTON to showcase its cars and their performance, technology and capabilities. Even more significant and crucial is the opportunity to learn and discover the capabilities of Proton cars in the extreme conditions of motorsports, which will ultimately be translated into product development.

A candidate round of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship, Rally Thailand (Queen’s Cup) was contested over 13 grueling special stages both on gravel and tarmac, 250km north of Bangkok in the region of Lop Buri. Totaling 220km, the three-day rally began on Friday with a short super special stage before moving on to seven and five special stages on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

PROTON RETURNS TO RALLY OF THAILAND

BANGKOK, 28 June 2012 – PROTON returns to the Rally of Thailand this weekend, bringing with it no less than a dominating and championship-winning car that will be making its competition debut in the Kingdom for the very first time in many years.

PROTON’s single-car challenge will be led by current British Rally Championship leader Tom Cave who will be piloting the Satria Neo S2000 as a factory team driver for the very first time.

The 21-year-old, co-driven by Craig Parry, had previously driven a privately-owned and works-supported Satria Neo S2000 on selected FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) and Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) events in 201.

I am thrilled as I am honored to have been chosen to drive for the PROTON Motorsports team on Rally of Thailand. I’m a little apprehensive as well! It’s going to be a big challenge for both myself and Craig as this is my first factory drive and the fact that I’ve never been to Thailand…We have no idea of what to expect but I relish the challenge and the opportunity and hope that we can get a good result for PROTON,” said a delighted Cave.

Rally Thailand will be contested over 13 grueling special stages both on gravel and tarmac, 250km north of Bangkok in the region of Lop Buri. Totaling 220km, the three-day rally begins Friday with a short super special stage before moving on to seven and five special stages on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

The Satria Neo S2000 had rallied PROTON’s Alister McRae to the 2011 Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) driver’s title. PROTON had also shot into rallying history by becoming the first manufacturer to win an unprecedented eight individual titles in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) in 2011, winning not only the coveted Manufacturer’s and Driver’s Championships, but also the 2 Wheel-Drive and Junior Championships in only its first full season of the championship.

Earlier this year, the Satria Neo S2000 at the hands of PG Andersson won the Swedish Rally and finished second in the recently concluded Rally Australia in the 2012 FIA Super 2000 World Rally Championship (S-WRC).

Satria Neo S2000 drive by Tom Cave now acting in Rally of Thailand

PROTON RALLIES TO SECOND PLACE IN NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand, 24 June 2012 – PROTON’s PG Andersson fought off a difficult and challenging Rally New Zealand to chalk up his second successive podium finish in the Super 2000 World Rally Championship (SWRC) contenders.

Andersson drove the Satria Neo S2000 to second place in the three-day rally after setting a blistering pace and competitive stage times.

Fastest S2000 car – PG Andersson

The Swedish driver began promisingly on the first special stage of Leg 1 leading the S2000 class and posting 8th fastest time overall, just 1.4 seconds behind overall rally leader Petter Solberg in the world rally car. The Satria Neo S2000 was again the fastest S2000 car on the third and final day of rallying which consisted of 22 special stages.

Rally New Zealand was run over a competitive distance of 413.94km. Leg 1 on Friday saw drivers taking on eight special stages with another seven special stages on Saturday. Sunday’s third and final leg was contested over seven special stages.

Andersson who had rallied the Satria Neo S2000 to its maiden victory in SWRC at his home rally in Sweden, is currently fourth in the FIA SWRC Drivers’ Standings after two rounds with 25 points, while McRae is in eighth position. The team had elected not to compete in the Rally of Portugal, the third round of the SWRC, due to commitments in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC).

Alister McRae caught in action during SWRC New Zealand 

The PROTON Motorsports team has shown great speed on this latest round of the Super 2000 World Rally Championship, especially on today’s final day special stages. While the roads closer to Auckland today are all new for the rally this year, and are quite different in nature from the rest of the route, the Satria-Neo S2000 – and both Andersson and Alister McRae have been fastest.

Despite enjoying competitive times, pacing himself to as high as fourth in the SWRC class and 12th overall, McRae was forced to bow out of the rally early due to mechanical problems.

PROTON IN PURSUIT OF DOMINANT DRIVE IN RALLY NEW ZEALAND

PROTON rejoins the FIA Super 2000 World Rally Championship (SWRC) looking forward to a dominant drive in Rally New Zealand this weekend.

With one victory after only two rounds of the SWRC, the pair of P-G Andersson and Alister McRae is fired up for a repeat performance of PROTON’s dominant drive at the Rally of Sweden.

Andersson who had rallied the Satria Neo S2000 to its maiden victory in SWRC at his home rally in Sweden, is currently 4th in the FIA SWRC Drivers’ Standings after two rounds with 25 points, while McRae is in 8th position. The team had elected not to compete in the Rally of Portugal, the third round of the SWRC, due to commitments in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC).

Run over three days, Rally New Zealand will comprise of 22 special stages with a competitive distance of 413.94km. Leg 1 on Friday will see drivers taking on eight special stages with another seven special stages on Saturday. Sunday’s third and final leg will be contested over seven special stages.

“It’s great to be back in SWRC again and what better place than New Zealand…This is a fantastic rally with incredible roads. The special stages are always really smooth, which means it’s not so demanding on the car – allowing you to have quite a straight race with the other drivers,” said Andersson.

“With it being winter in New Zealand, though, this means we could be in for some rain or some changing weather. Let’s just see what comes. We are certainly there to chase another SWRC win.”

Rally New Zealand will also be somewhat of a homecoming for the PROTON team who had earlier enjoyed a good run at the Rally of Whangarei in March during the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) where Andersson and McRae finished second and fourth respectively.

While the special stages may not be identical for this week’s SWRC round it will be nevertheless similar, with both Andersson and McRae feeling comfortable with the terrain and confident of pushing the Satria Neo S2000 to a competitive pace.

For team mate McRae, the terrain and open roads of New Zealand has always been a favourite of drivers.

“The fast and flowing nature of the roads encourages you to attack and push harder. The roads work with you on this event. You can use the camber of the road to pull you through the corner – at times you can be a gear higher than you would be on the same sort of bend without the camber. It’s great that Andersson and I have the advantage of having already been down in New Zealand once this year, and that has given us a good chance to dial ourselves into the specific nature of these stages,” said an optimistic McRae.

One of the most eagerly anticipated events on the SWRC calendar, Rally New Zealand starts in downtown Auckland before heading south to the beautiful coastal town of Raglan, around which Leg one is centered.

S2000 Rally Car  will be back in S-WRC next round at New Zealand, 22-24 June 2012

TWO TOP FIVE OVERALL FINISHES FOR PROTON AND 2WD CLASS WIN IN RALLY OF QUEENSLAND

Queensland, 27 May 2012 – PROTON rallied to two top five finishes in the overall classifications and a clinched victory in the two-wheel drive category at the 2012 International Rally of Queensland.

Defending Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) champion Alister McRae finished second in the two-day rally with team mate PG Andersson coming in fourth, while in the 2WD class, PROTON’s Akira Bamba drove to a well and hard-earned victory. Skoda’s Chris Atkinson won the rally while in third place was veteran driver Brian Green.

With eight special stages being run on the final day, McRae drove the Satria Neo S2000 to a textbook finish in pursuit of Atkinson. The highest gainer of the day however, was Andersson who punched his way up to fourth place from ninth at the end of the opening day.

“Despite being faced with a difficult start to the rally, both McRae and Andersson drove to a commendable finish to secure valuable championship points. We are still in it (the fight for the APRC championship),” said Datuk Abdul Razak Dawood, the Head of PROTON Motorsports.

Akira Bamba-2nd place in 2WD category

PROTON meanwhile, continued to stretch its dominance in the 2WD category, with reigning APRC Junior champion Bamba taking top honors in the 1600cc Satria Neo ahead of another Proton privateer Sanjay Takle. The Junior category was won by local driver Mike Young, also in a Proton Satria Neo, who finished ahead of Bamba.

“All in all, PROTON can be proud of its achievement in Queensland, returning to the event for a second year running to improve its performance from a fourth position last year to clinch a podium finish this time round. And this underlines our commitment to be better,” said PROTON’s Director of Group Marketing, Branding and Motorsports John D. Chacko.

Rally Queensland was contested over a total distance of 863km.

Alister’s action in Satria Neo on Rally Queensland secured 2nd place

PROTON R3 DUO WINS BIG AT MSS ROUND 2

Proton R3 Racing Team – 1st Place in MSS Round 2

Drivers Syafiq Ali and James Veerapan delivered a crushing victory for PROTON in the inaugural running of the one-hour endurance race format in the Malaysian Touring Car Championship.

Staring from pole position in Class 2 for production cars up to 1600cc, the PROTON pair claimed the chequred flag at Sepang International Circuit after completing a total of 22 laps, finishing one lap clear of any threat. In second place was the pair of Wong Yew Choong and Harry Chai who were more than two minutes behind in a Satria Neo.

The PROTON R3 Racing Team 1600cc Satria Neo was entrusted to Syafiq who started the race and drove for nine laps before pitting for a driver change. Veerapan then drove to the end of the one-hour limit completing an additional 13 laps.

The pair’s fastest lap time was 2 min: 39.089 seconds.

Introduced to replace the traditional sprint races, the new race format being implemented required the two drivers teaming up for a one-hour race that included a compulsory pit stop and driver change.

Victory in Sepang this weekend seals two straight round victories for the PROTON team after both Syafiq and Veerapan clinched back-to-back race wins in the opening round of the season in March.

“Syafiq and Veerapan consistently matched each other’s pace to drive home a textbook victory for the team. The Satria Neo also demonstrated exceptional performance and reliability over the one hour course,” said Team Principal Tengku Djan Ley Tengku Mahaleel.

Already proven on track and in gruelling competition such as rallying, the Satria Neo’s performance over the weekend reaffirmed its reputation as a race-winning contender.

“The win in Sepang and coincidentally in the two-wheel drive class at the International Rally of Queensland on the same weekend conveys a very strong message and underlines the Satria Neo’s potential of being a race winner,” said Head of PROTON Motorsports Datuk Abdul Razak Dawood.

At the same time, PROTON’s Director of Group Marketing, Branding & Motorsports John D. Chacko said: “This has been a phenomenal race weekend for PROTON both on and off the track. If anything, it clearly demonstrates not only the Satria Neo’s competitiveness but also versatility. Unlocking the full potential of the Satria Neo in competition will also go a long way towards reaffirming PROTON’s commitment to become better.”

Best shot on Satria Neo Proton R3 in MSS Round 2