Category Archives: Proton R3 Malaysia Rally Team
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
Proton R3 Team will be back in MSS Round 2 this weekend (25-27 May 2012)
The PROTON R3 Racing Team rejoins round 2 of the Malaysian Super Series (MSS) in Sepang International Circuit this weekend as clear favourites in the Malaysian Touring Car Championship after clinching back to back race victories in the opening round of the season.
Setting a blistering pace in Class 2 for production cars up to 1600cc, young drivers Syafiq Ali and James Veerappan in the 1600cc R3 Satria Neo have clearly underlined that they will be the pair to beat this weekend.
Both Syafiq and Veerapan have one race win each to their tally when they went on to win both 9-lap races in March held in conjunction with the Petronas Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix.
“We have two very talented, incredibly fast, committed and focused drivers in Syafiq and Veerapan. Round 1 clearly demonstrated their strong desire to win and as a team, they both work in unison to accomplish these goals,” said Team Principal Tengku Djan Ley Tengku Mahaleel.
Unlike Round 1 however, this weekend’s race will see the new format of the 2012 Malaysian Touring Car Championship being implemented which will require both drivers teaming up for a one-hour race that includes a compulsory pit stop and driver change.
“Consistency in pace will be extremely important this weekend and both drivers have been putting in a lot of work to achieving competitive times. We have also made further improvements to the Satria Neo in keeping with the new format of endurance racing.”
Already proven on track and in gruelling competition such as rallying, the 1600cc two-wheel drive Satria Neo brings not only exceptional reliability and handling to the race this weekend, but also race-winning performance.
“The new format of the 2012 Malaysian Touring Car Championship is an exciting one which promotes on-track competition to a new and higher level, extracting not only the very best performance from a vehicle but an important step towards developing a greater pool of even competitive and talented local drivers,” said Head of PROTON Motorsports Datuk Abdul Razak Dawood.
Meanwhile, PROTON’s Director of Group Marketing, Branding and Motorsports John Chacko said the 2012 Malaysian Touring Car Championship provided an ideal platform to showcase the engineering prowess of R3 which is the company’s motorsports division.
“Research and development, underlined by accomplishments on the track translate into the introduction of performance-driven production models, and this is a further manifestation of PROTON’s commitment to be better and even more competitive as a car manufacturer.”
August 19, 2011
Next week’s Barum Czech Rally Zlin will kick-start one of the busiest periods in PROTON Motorsport’s history – as the Malaysian firm tackles five events on two continents in just seven weeks.
Two-time FIA Junior World Rally Champion P-G Andersson (Sweden) and double FIA European Rally Champion Giandomenico Basso (Italy) will return to the Satria Neo S2000s, having demonstrated the pace and potential of the car in the highly competitive Intercontinental Rally Challenge earlier this year.
PROTON Motorsport’s hectic schedule means the team goes from the Czech Republic next week to Hungary for the Mecsek Rallye (IRC); Italy for Rallye Sanremo (IRC); Japan for Rally Hokkaido (FIA APRC) and Great Britain for Rally of Scotland (IRC) between now and the first weekend in October.
PROTON’s preparations for this intensive second half of the season have included further development work on the suspension and engine for the Satria – the car which has dominated this year’s FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, winning three from four rounds in the hands of Chris Atkinson.
The rally is based in the south-east of the Czech Republic and is always one of the most popular events of the season with drivers and spectators; thousands of fans from across Europe are expected to line the tricky asphalt stages running through the forests close to the city of Zlin. A treat for those fans will be the town centre superspecial stage on Friday evening. Run in the darkness, the 9.36-kilometre test is the rally’s atmospheric highlight.
Another fascinating element of this rally is the unpredictable weather conditions, with warm sunshine regularly giving way to heavy rain showers in a matter of minutes. The changeable weather makes grip levels notoriously tough to call – especially as the roads dive in and out of the tree cover.
The PROTON Motorsports team enjoyed a strong performance on this rally last year, with the Satria Neo posting times at the sharp end of the competition. The team will test for a day in the Czech Republic on Monday (August 22).
P-G Andersson said:
“The roads on this rally can be quite bumpy with some broken Tarmac, which is good for me – this kind of condition suits me quite well. I haven’t competed in Zlin before, but I have heard a lot about the rally. I’m looking forward to getting out there and driving again to chase a good result. It’s also nice to drive on a rally with a really good atmosphere. I think it’s going to be a great event. We have a test with the Satria on Monday, which will give us a good chance to see how the car is running after the team have been working on it some more.”
Giandomenico Basso said:
“The most important thing is to find a good confidence in the car on the bumpy surface. Barum is not like a normal Tarmac rally, it is very specific. The bumps make finding the right set-up complicated so there is a lot of work to do with the dampers. But we have made a lot of progress in this area since switching to Reiger, and the test will help us find the right solution on Monday. The roads in Zlin can be quite difficult when there is rain – under the trees it can be quite slippery. It’s important to make good pacenotes. I’ve done the rally three or four times and I like it. I remember some good times there.”
Chris Mellors (team principal) said:
“There’s no doubt that we are coming into a busy time for the team. We’ve used the last couple of weeks to really push forward the work on the car, focusing again on the engine and suspension, but now we’re fixed on the rallies ahead; five events in seven weeks is a full-on schedule. This is a fantastic opportunity for us to demonstrate what the car can do – and continue the winning performances we’ve been putting in on the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship. The car showed some real pace on this rally 12 months ago and we’re looking forward to picking up where we left off in the Czech Republic.”
Round: 7/11, Intercontinental Rally Challenge
Based: Zlin, Czech Republic
Liaison distance: 371.25km
Competitive distance: 248.48km
Total distance: 619.73km
Pre-event press conference: 16th Floor, Building 21 (Friday August 26, 1500)
Post-event press conference: 16th Floor, Building 21 (Saturday August 28, 1700)
Time difference: Czech Republic is GMT+2hrs
Friday August 26
SS1 SSS Zlin (9.36km) 2115
Saturday August 27
SS2 Biskupice 1 (8.89km) 0938
SS3 Pindula 1 (12.95km) 1011
SS4 Trojak 1 (28.69km) 1054
SS5 Semetin 1 (11.49km) 1137
Service Otrokovice 1337
SS6 Biskupice 2 (8.89km) 1500
SS7 Pindula 2(12.95km) 1533
SS8 Trojak 2 (28.69km) 1616
SS9 Semetin 2 (11.49km) 1659
Sunday August 28
SS10 Majak 1 (22.69km) 0833
SS11 Kudlovice 1 (10.48km) 0921
SS12 Halenkovice 1 (24.37km) 0954
Service Otrokovice 1104
SS13 Majak 2 (22.69km) 1212
SS14 Kudlovice 2 (10.48km) 1300
SS15 Halenkovice 2 (24.37km) 1333
Finish Zlin 150
Fresh after their victory in the third round of the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship in New Caledonia, the PROTON boys are now headed north of the equator for the Geko Ypres Rally, round five of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.
Swedish P-G Andersson and Italian Giandomenico Basso will be reunited with their Satria Neo S2000s for the all-asphalt Belgian classic. Two-time European Rally Champion, Basso is a former winner of the Geko Ypres Rally; Andersson will rely heavily on his team-mate’s knowledge as the double Junior World Rally Champion has never competed on the rally previously.
The Geko Ypres Rally is based around the town of Ypres in north-west Belgium. And, next week, that town is taken over by hundreds of thousands of rally fans from across the continent. The event is a true classic and an enormous challenge. Unlike any other asphalt rounds in the championship, the smooth Belgian roads slice their way through the farmland with only square corner after square corner likely to slow the speeding Satrias.
In a hectic, 30-hour schedule, Basso and Andersson will tackle a 649-kilometre route, including 18 stages that comprise 287 competitive kilometres. What makes this event even tougher is the notoriously fickle weather and the fact that five of the stages will be run in fading light or complete darkness.
When the PROTONs arrive at the Grote Markt in the centre of Ypres at the end of Saturday, they will have completed one of rallying’s toughest tests.
And don’t forget, just six days earlier, Chris Atkinson and Alister McRae will have done the same thing on the earth’s other side.
P-G Andersson said:
“I have never done this rally before, but I have seen the stages and the number of people out there spectating is just incredible. I think we’re in for a rally with a lot of atmosphere! Unfortunately, I think it can be quite tough for drivers to go there without so much experience and try to win the rally; some of the roads are quite specialised. We showed last time in Ukraine that the team is making good progress with the car, the car is definitely getting quicker, and I’m sure we will continue to do the same in Belgium.”
Giandomenico Basso said:
“I’m looking forward to this event, I have won here before and it’s always a big challenge with a lot of really fast local drivers. The last rally we did [the PRIME Yalta Rally] with the car showed that we have made progress with the Satria. This is the good thing, the car is better and better, we are really improving. I want to come out and be fast in Ypres.”
Chris Mellors (team principal) said:
“Ypres is one of the biggest rallies in Europe and you always get a great welcome when you get over there. As a team, we’re looking to deliver on the promise we showed in Yalta; analysing the times, you can see that we’re right on the cusp with the car. We believe we have the right package to deliver a result in Ypres, we’ve certainly got the most talented drivers in P-G and Giandomenico. P-G’s right when he says it will be tough to go to that event for the first time, but he’s going to be able to get some good advice from Giandomenico, who has won in the past. But, before that next IRC round, we’re competing in New Caledonia in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship this weekend. Obviously, we’re eager to see what the boys can do on that event. It would be nice to go to Belgium on the back of a second APRC win of the year.”
As usual, stay tuned to our official Facebook page for live results and updates. Have a great week folks.
They did it! The team finished first and third place overall at the Rally De Nouvelle Caledonie last weekend to clinch its second successive victory after three rounds of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC).
Chris scored his second win of the season, together with co-driver Stephane Prevot in the all famous yellow Neo finishing the three-day event ahead of Pertamina Cusco Racing’s Rifat Sungkar in the more powerful turbocharged Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X.
Meanwhile, Alister drove to a hard-fought third place after having conceded his early lead in the rally due to a puncture and broken driveshaft.
Victory in New Caledonia saw team PROTON claiming not only the overall victory, but also top honors amongst the APRC contenders and finishing first in the Pacific Cup. PROTON also clinched the APRC Team Trophy at the event.
“It’s a phenomenal result for PROTON, the entire team and for Stephane and I personally. Our rally wasn’t exactly trouble free especially with a broken driveshaft in day 2 but we were lucky we had built a big enough gap to have it replaced and still hang on to the lead,” said Chris.
“In terms of power, performance and reliability, the Satria Neo S2000 performed like a gem this weekend.”
With maximum points scored in New Caledonia, Chris moves into the lead of the APRC Driver’s Championship with 58 points, just two points ahead of Alister. In third place is currently Team MRF’s Gaurav Gill who retired in New Caledonia. Alister also reclaims the top spot in the Asia Cup Driver’s Championship ahead of Gill. Also moving to first and second places in the APRC Co-Driver’s Championship are Stephane Prevot and Billy Hayes with 58 and 56 points respectively.
The team now stretches its lead in the APRC Teams Trophy with 128 points ahead of Team MRF that had both drivers retiring in New Caledonia.
And as a bonus, Karamjit Singh also won the Two-Wheel Drive Category in his 1600cc Satria Neo which extends his lead in the Driver’s Championship and PROTON’s lead in the Manufacturer’s Championship to 78 points respectively. Karamjit finished ninth overall in the rally.
So of course everyone’s over the moon with the victory, and rightfully so. It goes to show how competitive the Neo S2000 is, despite enduring its share of misfortunes and technical issues along the way this year. The cars competed against more powerful turbocharged cars and won rallies!
We’re so proud of the team and wish them all the best as they move on to the Ypres Rally in Belgium coming up very soon.
Meanwhile, check out exclusive photos of the New Caledonia rally and behind the scene photos of the team including amazing pictures of the island and its people at our official Facebook page.
Four’s not such a bad number. It’s better than being at fifth 5 and certainly a lot higher than 10. At the Rally of Queensland that took place sometime mid May, Alister and co-driver Bill fended off a series of misfortunes to give PROTON a strong fourth place finish.
Beginning the day with an eight second advantage over Mitsubishi’s Gaurav Gill, they were forced to relinquish the rally when the Proton Satria Neo S2000’s engine began misfiring after a water crossing in one of the day’s seven special stages. Their charge back to the top was dealt an even serious blow when they were forced to slow down considerably as a result of a broken drive shaft over 50km of the last three special stages of the rally, causing them to lose more time. Despite this, they managed to hang on to 4th place in front of a Rifat Sungkar of Indonesia, in his Mitsubishi Evolution 10.
“With no service interval, we were forced to slow down and nurse the car to the finish. It was a tough event, one that presented us with a lot of challenges. McRae and I are obviously disappointed in not being able to secure a podium finish but considering the circumstances, finishing fourth at least sees us heading to the next APRC round with valuable championship points,” said Bill.
Rejoining the final day of the rally after an early retirement on day two, Chris endured a second electrical failure which ended his rally.
The rally was won by British driver Mark Higgins, who finished 16 seconds ahead of Gill, while in third place was Japanese driver Katsuhiko Taguchi.
It was a hard fought rally, and while the team were hoping for a better result after a strong start, fourth place amidst an unfortunate last day will nevertheless go a long way in extending their position in the overall manufacturer’s championship, with full points on Leg 1 and some good points on Leg 2 with a 4th overall and 1st in Class 2.
Meanwhile, PROTON’s 1600cc group N Satria Neos finished 9th and 11th overall in the rally, and 1st and 2nd in class at the hands of Karamjit Singh and Proton Cusco Rally Team mate Akira Bamba.
Better luck next time 🙂
Hola! The team were in Spain recently, for the Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Ingles in Spain.
Amidst stiff competition, our boys Giandomenico Basso and Pg Andersson rallied the Satria Neo Super 2000 to PROTON’s best finish yet this season at the Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Inglés in Spain. They secured PROTON’s first championship points in this round of the IRC which took place from 15th – 16th April 2011.
A little about the rally first. The rally attracted the participation of 35 drivers competing in the IRC category, with Peugeot represented with the largest contingent of super 2000 cars, fielding six 207 S2000 followed by Skoda with five Fabia S2000 cars.
Now moving to the action, Basso’s spirited drive to ninth place earned him two points in the driver’s championship, and 16 points for PROTON in the manufacturer’s championship. PROTON was the best of Asian manufacturer in Spain, finishing ahead of Suzuki, Honda and Subaru, and finished ahead of European manufacturers Citroen, Renault and Ford.
PG Andersson meanwhile, completed the rally in 16th after losing a lot of ground on day one of the rally due to two punctures. Andersson stopped to change a first puncture but with the absence of a second spare tyre, was forced to tackle special stage six with another slow puncture. That dropped him to drop to19th overall, losing more than six minutes but the Swedish driver fought back hard on the second and final day to reduce the deficit and settled for 16th.
The results in Spain also places PROTON fourth in the IRC championship point standings after two rounds behind leaders Skoda and Peugeot, and just two points adrift of Subaru currently in third place.
The top eight places in Spain were dominated by Skoda and Peugeot, with defending IRC champion Juho Hanninen rallying to victory ahead of Skoda team mate Jan Kopecky. Finishing third was Thierry Neuville in the Peugeot 207 S2000.
Basso was 49 seconds behind Bruno Magalhaes who finished eighth in another Peugeot 207 S2000, and 48 seconds ahead of former World Rally Championship driver Toni Gardemeister in a fifth Skoda Fabia S2000 to make up the top 10 fastest drivers.
Well done boys. It’s a positive result and a good start and we look forward to more positive performances in the future.
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 😉
Great results today! Though it was a treacherous day for the team as Day 2 proved to be tough and temperamental. With the weather being as hot as ever at 32 degrees celcius all week, in came a heavy downpour hours before the start of the rally’s seven special stages. So from dry to dusty, the team were faced with a muddy and slippery journey instead. And the terrain seemed unpredictable because of the change in weather and conditions.
Yet the team pushed through, Chris is current first overall and Alister comes in third. Great job, guys!
Chris and his Neo led from the start of special stage 2, with a four-second advantage over Alister at the end of the 32.30km charge at the Tai-Tak Plantation in Kota Tinggi. By the following 24.49km special stage 3, Chris’ lead had grown to 37.8 seconds ahead of MRF’s Gaurav Gill in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, while Alister was forced to reduce his pace to contain an overheating problem. The problem, which cost him more than four minutes, was later resolved and was found to be caused by debris and vegetation blocking the air path to the radiator through the front bumper grille.
Leaving nothing to chance, the team service crew had replaced a slightly worn right rear driveshaft on Chris’s Neo within nine minutes at the first service interval. Rejoining the rally after the first service interval, Chris stretched his lead to 1 minute 17.4 seconds in special stage 5 which was a repeat run of the 32.30km Tai-Tak special stage. He gained another three seconds in special stage 6, 24 seconds in special stage 7, but conceded four seconds in the final’s day’s 2.5km super special stage to go into the third and final day of the rally with a 1 minute 40.4 seconds lead over Gaurav. Alister at third, and second in the Asia Cup category.
In terms of casualties, ex-APRC champion Cody Crocker fell short of luck after going off the road. Other casualties included Japanese driver Katsuhiko Taguchi, Pertamina Cusco Racing’s Rifat Sungkar and team mate Yuya Sumiyama, former British rally champion Mark Higgins and Malaysian driver Saladin Mazlan – all behind the wheel of a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X. Well known Karamjit Singh in his Lancer Evo 9 also fell out due to a mechanical problem.
All in all Day 2 eliminated seven of the top seeded drivers.
Our pretty boys at team PROTON Cusco Rally Team in the 1600cc Satria Neo also enjoyed a good run today, with Akira Bamba running high in eighth overall as the fastest 1600cc two-wheel drive entry, leading the APRC Junior Cup category. Team mate Kosuke Takashino meanwhile, is currently placed ninth overall.
Tomorrow is the the third and final day of the Malaysian Rally. The final day will be run over seven special stages totaling 79.80km.
With determination coupled with a solid drive and performance from the team, PROTON is aiming for a podium finish tomorrow and we’re positive the team will make it. 🙂
Hola! How’s the weekend going? Relaxing, we hope.
So day 1 of the Malaysian Rally went well for the team yesterday, with the two Neos showing a good performance on a competitive opening day which saw the top six registered competitors separated by a difference of only one second.
Alister completed the 2.5km super special stage for spectators at the Angsana Shoping Complex in a time of 2 mins and 0.25 seconds to secure a second place finish, 0.4 seconds short of current rally leader Rifat Sungkar in a Mitsubishi Evolution X. Chris ended up in the top five to deny an all-Mitsubishi front row.
Alister’s result also places him second in the Asia Cup category.
As for the PROTON Cusco Rally Team 1600cc Satria Neos, they managed an inspiring debut, with Akira Bamba finishing at 11th place, 20 seconds behind top APRC contenders, but leading the APRC Junior Cup category ahead of team mate Kosuke Takashino.
Tis’ a strong start for PROTON indeed with the four Neos occupying the top positions in their classes. It goes to show that the Neo is back with a mission, newly-charged and competitive as ever.
On another note, if you didn’t already know, of the total 35 entries in the Malaysian rally, 18 cars are Protons, with 12 cars competing for APRC points. That’s pretty cool, seeing so many of our cars out there. If you happen to be in JB go check out the buzz at the Malaysian Rally. Also, there’s a PROTON display of its current models at the Aeon Tebrau City Shopping Centre now till Sunday, 3rd April. That’s tomorrow, folks so come visit us soon there 🙂
Day 2 takes place today, and involves seven special stages, with another seven special stages being run on the third and final day. The real test of the rally starts right now at the Tai Tak estate with a long 32.3km stage at 9.23am. All the best to our drivers, we’re hoping for a great performance today.
Stay tuned to our Facebook page for the latest results and updates. Catch you later.