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 😉
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.
Shakedown took place yesterday, at the Plaza Angsana. Check out some of the action below.
To view the entire Shakedown album, click here.
A few more hours to go before the start of the Malaysian Rally. The action starts today, with a Special Stage Race over a 2.5km purpose built track at the Plaza Angsana Johore Bahru before the real race begins at the Tai Tak Estate in Kota Tinggi over the weekend.
Day 2 of the rally will involve seven special stages, with another seven special stages being run on the third and final day.
Alister, who led the Malaysian Rally last year until his Neo was severely damaged in a jump, is confident and ready to claim victory this time around. Both our drivers Alister and Chris expect the Neo to put on a much more charged up performance this weekend in front of the home crowd, their cars equipped with an entirely new suspension set-up as well as engine enhancements.
Chris expects the change in suspension will give the team greater confidence and better traction while revisions to the engine will provide more horsepower and offer consistent torque throughout the rev range. He believes the improvements will lead to a much better flow and natural feel overall.
The Malaysian Rally has attracted a total of 38 entries, with 11 cars competing for APRC points.
Now let’s check out the competition. There’s four time APRC overall winner Cody Crocker for the GSR Pennzoil Team in a Subaru Impreza, Katsu Taguchi of Japan of course, defending champion of the Malaysian leg of the APRC in his Mitsubishi Evo XI, Muhammad Rafiq Udhaya, the defending Malaysian Rally champion in the Subaru Impreza and the famous Karamjit Singh in his new Mitsubishi Evo, all geared up to win this season after his loss last year.
Despite the impressive competitor lineup, our team is confident and setting its sight on gaining victory on home ground, with the newly-charged cars ready for a more dominant performance.
With rallies, you never know what lies ahead and what to expect in each race. So we wish all the teams competing in the Malaysian Rally 2011 the best of luck and may the best team win!
As always, stay tuned to our Facebook page for updates on team performance and results, including photos from the rally.
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.
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
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!
We were at the Kuala Lumpur Rally Day recently, held to promote interest in rally and as a promotional gig for the upcoming Malaysian Rally. The convoy began at Section 13 in Petaling Jaya and headed for the Golden Triangle, passing the routes of Jalan Ampang, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Jalan Raja Chulan, Jalan Telawi and Jalan Gelenggang.
The Pennzoil GSR and MRU Motorsports rally teams were among the other teams participating in the event, and they brought out their cars in full force, including the Subaru Impreza WRX, Peugeot 206, and of course we brought our attention grabbing superstars – the Proton Satria Neo 1.6 and Proton Satria Neo S2000. A big shoutout to all our fans who came to support us, THANK YOU!
Check out some fab pictures of our fans below:
Last year, we didn’t win the Malaysian round, but the team didn’t go unnoticed. They set a very good pace and this year we’re hoping to make it to a podium finish. And we’re positive that it will happen.
Nine teams from around the region will be participating in the opening round of the APRC 2011, which forms part of the 2011 Malaysian Rally Championship. The Malaysian Rally is happening at the Plaza Angsana Johor Baru and Tai Tak Estate in Kota Tinggi from 1-4 April 2011.
Coming up really soon, so stay tuned. Have a great weekend, everyone.
We won, guys! After all the hard work, and well deserved too. PROTON takes first and second placing at the APRC 2010 and also second and third placing for the Asia Cup. Overall the team came out second for the Manufacturer’s Championship. PROTON is now ahead of Subaru and behind Mitsubishi in the APRC Manufacturers Title.
Indeed, as quoted by one of our fans, the team saved the best for last!
Alister McRae took the podium at first and Chris Atkinson at second for the APRC while Alister takes second and Chris third at the podium for the Asia Cup. Alister is currently also at third placing for the APRC Driver’s Title.
An excellent outcome for PROTON’s first full season competing in the championship what with all the bad luck we’ve had this season; and finally emerging victorious.
A recap of the China Rally, Leg 1 of the China Rally covered a total of nine special stages over 146km. After a short 1.82km super special stage for spectators on Friday, the rally continued on Saturday with eight special stages run through the mountainous region and bamboo forests just outside of Longyou city which combined both gravel and tarmac stages.
Leading the rally on Day 1, Alister was forced to concede his position for second place in the penultimate 25.53km special stage – the longest in the rally – after his Satria NEO S2000 suffered a puncture. Chris endured two punctures on the same stage which was repeated three times throughout the day to settle for third.
Leg 2 of the China Rally took place over six difficult, long and rough special stages covering a combined distance of 83.7km.The highlight of the third and final day was a grueling 16.35km charge over the rocky mountainous region of San Men Yuan dubbed by rally drivers as the stage with a hundred hairpin turns. It also included high-speed charge along a newly-introduced 12.27km all-tarmac special stage which was repeated twice throughout the day.
On Day 2 and restarting the rally almost two minutes down on Cusco Racing’s Hiroshi Yanagisawa and in second position, Alister wasted no time piling on the pressure to set the fastest stage time of 18 minutes 40.1 seconds in the 16.35km special stage 10. Halfway through the narrow and rough ascent, both Chris and Alister passed Yanagisawa’s Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X that was forced into retirement with mechanical problems. The day ended on a happy note for both drivers when they secured the podium finishes.
Alister’s comments below aptly summarizes the whole season of PROTON’s participation in rallying:
“This is definitely a great result for both PROTON and us. I’ve said it all year long that the Proton Satria Neo S2000 is capable of winning rallies and being on the podium but we have just experienced so much of bad luck throughout the season…To finally prove it in this rally with a one-two finish is just fantastic.”
We are happy for the team and a big round of congratulations to all who made this happen with the blood, sweat and tears. They never gave up.
A special shout out to all our fans from all over the world, who have loyally stood by us and had faith that PROTON would make it! We’ve come a long way in our journey and will continue to strive for excellence.
There are loads of videos and albums of the Rally of China 2010 so do visit our Facebook page here.
Darn it… was hoping that we could smuggle one of those cute little fellows home… 🙂
Today is the day before the Rally of China. As you may have read, we blogged a preview on the rally here.
So what will be happening in the next few days? As we write this, shakedown is already over. More updates and pictures later as we progress through the event.
This year’s rally will be run over 15 special stages with a combined distance of 229.99km over two days. The rally begins with a 1.82km super special stage for the benefit of spectators after the ceremonial start before proceeding to Leg 1 the following day which will consist of 8 special stages. The third and final day will see competitors battling another 6 special stages.
Stage 1 of the Rally begins at 230pm (China time) tomorrow.
The weather is currently dry, but cool with a lot of haze. It seems that the forecast is that the current conditions will continue throughout the rally period.
We know that currently the stages are in good condition. There is a high percentage of concrete roads that may be slippery at the first pass, as there is a fine dust and sometimes gravel on top so it will be challenging. And an interesting watch.
And so ladies and gents, the stage is all set for the battle. Our drivers are all geared to go. McRae and Hayes, and the brothers Atkinson must be very excited and hopeful as season 2010 ends and so are we as we all pray hard that they do well and claim a podium finish.
We will be back tomorrow. Till then, zài jiàn (that’s goodbye in Mandarin)… 🙂
Despite more challenges faced in the Scotland Rally, the team once again demonstrated the pace and performance of the S2000 in the penultimate round of the IRC which covered a combined distance of 196.92km of competitive special stages.
The rough three-day rally saw the top competitors battling repeated punctures. McRae and co-driver Hayes drove to a commendable comeback to finish the final day of the rally fourth fastest. McRae was excluded from an overall placing, but had rejoined the rally under the FIA Super Rally Format following an early retirement on day two due to a failed alternator.
PROTON team mate and two-time reigning British Rally champion Keith Cronin, were forced to retire from the event, joining a host of other drivers whose run was hampered by punctures throughout the rally.
Privateer Tom Cave also rejoined PROTON in Scotland. Starting the third and final day of the rally from ninth, Cave charged aggressively through the last four special stages in dramatic style which saw Skoda, Ford, Peugeot and PROTON taking the top four fastest positions. Cave too suffered an early setback when two punctures forced the young driver to nurse the Satria Neo S2000 back to service, dropping him back to ninth position and some 10 minutes behind, eventually succumbing to the slippery and rough roads.
While the rally of Scotland did not pan out the way the team would have hoped, and as the IRC season comes to an end this year, the pace set by the cars are proof enough that the Satria Neo S2000 is indeed competitive globally among the likes of more established car manufacturers. PROTON’s consistent performance and the fact that McRae secured a second place finish in last year’s Rally of Scotland goes a long way in reaffirming not only the car’s reliability, durability and performance, but also in raising the profile and level of confidence in PROTON as a competitive car.
PROTON’s selected entries in the 2010 IRC are geared towards fine-tuning the Satria Neo S2000 in preparation for the championship in 2011. The team may be returning for the next season with the hopes that they are able to apply further development and enhancements to the car that will help the team to gain a much deserved victory.
Alister McRae, Chris Atkinson, Bill Hayes and Stephane Prevot did a splendid demo for Proton Staff yesterday. The crowd was in awe when the drivers perform drifts across the track, leaving tyre marks along way. We reckon everyone will remember that the Proton R3 Malaysia Rally Team blazed the tracks at our office just by looking at it.