Category Archives: Group N Rally Cars

PROTON CAN SECURE APRC MANUFACTURERS CUP IN RALLY CHINA.

Its a cold and wet day in Longyou, Zhejiang, China as we start the rally in our campaign to secure the Manufacturers title.

While Proton will fight it out with Mitsubishi for the cup, with Finnish driver Jari Ketomaa leading the charge, Alister McRae and Chris Atkinson will fight it out in an all-PROTON showdown for the driver’s title.

Proton Motorsports leads the way with car no.1 and 2. in a rally with over 90 cars, an amazing turnout for the China Rally Championship and last round of the APRC 2011.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the ceremonial start, the first super special (1.82km) was run just outside Longyou town with Alister McRae finishing 1st in front of Jari Ketomaa and 3rd placed Chris Atkinson.

Alister 1:44.3, Ketomaa(FIN) 1:45.3 and Chris 1:45.6

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Malaysian Rally : We are the champions!

The PROTON Motorsports rally team did it! They won, and what a sweet victory too, with Chris at 1st and Alister at 3rd placing overall. Congratulations team PROTON!


With  an entirely new suspension set-up and significant engine enhancements, Chris steered the Neo to victory finishing 1 minute 36.6 seconds ahead of MRF’s Gaurav Gill in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, with Alister coming in at third.

Restarting the third and final day of the rally in Kota Tinggi with a lead of 2 minutes 10 seconds, Chris was quickly forced to concede 30 seconds to an attacking Gill, as he nursed a right rear puncture sustained midway into the opening 12.42km special stage at Tai Tak – Court House.

With the punctured tyre replaced and unable to afford another puncture, Chris then paced the Satria Neo S2000 through the two remaining 11.97km and 14.26km special stages to return safely to the scheduled service interval. With four special stages remaining, he needed only to steer clear of trouble and maintain an already comfortable lead.

Alister thinks the results were fantastic and that the Neo performed extremely well throughout the rally. It was especially satisfying for him to have been able to demonstrate the car’s true potential, competitiveness and its level of pace and performance in front of the home crowd. Alister also celebrates his first ever victory and only second podium finish with PROTON since joining the team last year.

For Alister, third place was every bit rewarding as he had to manage an overheating problem caused by debris and vegetation blocking the air path to the radiator through the front bumper grille. The podium finish also places him second behind Gaurav, in the Asia Cup category.

Victory was even more meaningful for Alister’s co-driver Stephane Prevot who in his 24 years of rallying, celebrated his 300th rally on top of the podium and the APRC standings.

The third and final day of the Malaysian Rally was run over seven special stages totaling 79.80km. Heavy downpour just hours before the rally was due to start on the second day had wrecked havoc on the event, inflicting so many serious casualties and eliminating most of the top seeded drivers, as what had earlier been dry and dusty quickly became muddy and slippery conditions.

The Satria Neo S2000’s pace and performance in Malaysia forms a strong foundation for further development in preparation for the next round of the APRC which moves to Australia next month and with five more very competitive rounds to contest.

Outstanding results for PROTON at the Malaysian Rally also extended to the two debutante front-wheel driven 1600cc Satria Neos. Competing for the very first time, the two cars finished 8th and 9th overall at the hands of PROTON Cusco Rally Team’s Akira Bamba and Kosuke Takashino. Both drivers also clinched 1st and 2nd in the APRC Junior Cup category.

Well done again to the team, the engineers and the people behind the scenes who made it happen. Also a big shoutout to all our fans who kept the faith and remained our strong supporters. THANK YOU!

More pictures and videos at our Facebook page. Bubye for now 😉

PROTON kickstarts 2011 campaign & the rallying begins!

Early this week, the official launch of PROTON’s 2011 rally campaign took place and the event was officiated by Deputy Minister of Tourism Yang Berhormat Dato’ Dr. James Dawos Mamit. At the launch, the Deputy Minister handed the symbolic ‘Jalur Gemilang’ (Malaysian flag) to the team. And with that, the PROTON R3 Malaysia Rally team will begin their new season of rallying for this year.

Malaysian Deputy Minister of Tourism hands the Malaysian Flag to PROTON Managing Director, Dato' Seri Syed Zainal

 

The PROTON R3 Malaysia Rally team & management

PROTON is looking to start the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) campaign on a high note with a strong finish at the season-opener Rally of Malaysia which begins this weekend. And the two S2000 cars will be driven by Alister McRae and Chris Atkinson.

If you remember last year’s Malaysian rally, we had the same drivers with us, both also being former World Rally Championship (WRC) drivers.

They were with PROTON throughout the 2010 season, with the team finishing second place in the APRC Manufacturer’s Championship and best finish being a 1-2 victory in the APRC category at the China Rally.

As most of our diehard fans are already aware, the Satria Neo Super 2000 rally car had benefitted from an entire year devoted to testing and development; allowing the team to gain tremendous improvements in terms of power, performance and reliability. Now all that’s left is to prove that our yellow superstar is also a championship-winning contender.

The Malaysian rally is known as one of the most challenging and rough rallies on the APRC calendar but the team is positive of their performance this time around and hopes to have a strong finish. We have high hopes for them too this time around.

More exciting news, this season of APRC also brings in the entry of several Group N Satria Neo 1600cc rally cars. The cars have been jointly-developed by PROTON and renowned Japanese tuner CUSCO, and are being sold to competitors in Japan taking part in both the APRC and Japanese Junior Rally Championship. Check out the pic below, simply lovely! We’re talking about the cars, of course ;p

PROTON Cusco Rally Team, Satria Neo 1.6 Group N rally car

Stick with us over the next few days, because updates from the Malaysian Rally 2011 will be posted throughout the event. Also do check out our Facebook page for up to date team performance and results and see exclusive photos of the Satria Neo S2000@the Malaysian rally and team in action both during the race and behind the scenes.

More pictures of the launch here. Later, gators!

PROTON Motorsports Group N Rally Cars in Japan

Hello everyone, we’re back after the break. Hope everyone’s Chinese New Year celebrations were a blast. So what’s been happening with PROTON Motorsports lately? Quite a bit, apart from the recent Monte Carlo rally. We recently signed a deal with renowned Japanese parts manufacturer Carroser Co. Ltd.(CUSCO), who purchased the Satria Neo cars to be sold as rally cars in Japan. That’s the first time ever a PROTON car will go on sale in Japan. The technical collaboration came about as a result from the performance and potential of the Satria Neo S2000 rally car at the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) and the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC).

The car was unveiled recently at the Tokyo Auto Salon show that took place on 14 – 16 January 2011.  The CUSCO engineered Group N Proton Satria Neo rally car will be sold to competitors who will be competing in the Junior Rally Championships in Japan and Asia Pacific.

The Group N Proton Satria Neo rally cars will be based on stock standard road-registered 1600cc showroom models acquired by CUSCO, homologated according to FIA regulations for competition use, and retrofitted with CUSCO-developed aftermarket performance and race components.

CUSCO is famous for producing top-of-the-line aftermarket performance parts for both the Japanese and international tuning markets. They’re also the only independent firm in Japan to compete in all categories of the ALL-Japan Championships: track racing, rallying, dirt trials and gymkhana.

At the same Tokyo Auto Salon, a concept Proton R3 Satria Neo went on display. The concept car is a sporty three-door hatchback that features R3’s distinct body styling, enhanced engine performance, braking, handling and an upgraded interior. A feast for the eyes indeed for Japanese car enthusiasts and visitors to the show from around the globe.

Proton Satria Neo concept car@Tokyo Auto Salon 2011

The Tokyo Auto Salon happens to be the world’s largest auto exhibition showcasing more than 600 vehicles and 300 companies involving after-market parts manufacturers, tuners, custom shops, car manufacturers, automotive businesses, associations and automotive vocational schools.

Group N rally cars in Shakedown action!

Soon after that the Group N rally cars participated in a shakedown event held with the Japanese media, dealers and potential owners of the Neo at the Maruwa Autoland Nasu in Togichi. Members present experienced the thrill and adrenalin of being in the rally car during shakedown, in the co-driver’s seat. Professional Japanese drivers from various racing backgrounds were also present to test drive  and share their experience with the Group N Rally car, Neo Standard & Neo Concept.

In the event, the Neo went though two days of testing over a distance of 250km on gravel roads without any mechanical issues. Overall the drivers rated the car as having very good handling and balance when driven at high speed.  Also at the event, a Mazda 2 rally car was brought in to be pitched against our Neo.  The Proton car beat the Mazda, clocking in a time of 1 min and 19 seconds, ahead of the Mazda by 6 seconds over a 1km stage. This clearly demonstrated the Neo’s capability when pitched against other reputed manufacturers. Pretty cool!

So what’s next? PROTON and CUSCO will be participating in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship 2011 under the Junior Trophy category. The category will be introduced for the first time this year in the APRC, to increase opportunities for young talented drivers within the region. The event is only open to drivers born on or after 1 January 1982. Junior Group N driver, Bamba San, is expected to participate in this event, with a selected Malaysian rally driver. The event will involve four qualifying rounds that will take place in Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Japan.

Check out our official Facebook page here for videos of the shakedown under the videos section.

The Satria Neo Group N Rally cars will also be available for sale in Malaysia. For further enquiries on specifications and pricing, contact us via email at motorsports@proton.com.