It’s been a while, my apologies to all faithful blog readers – I have been busy. But now that I’m back let’s recap on recent rallies and what’s coming up.
From San Remo to Scotland, the PROTON R3 Rally team is gearing up for a much needed victory. And as always, we are ever optimistic.
Rally of San Remo
Three-time San Remo winner Gilles Panizzi, formed the part of a two-car line-up with Niall McShea on the 10th round of the IRC.
The 44-year-old Panizzi has a wealth of experience both in World Rally Cars and Super 2000, where he developed one of the most successful cars in the category, and on the World Rally Championship, where he triumphed on seven WRC events between 2000 and 2003. The Frenchman was co-driven by Freddy Delorme.
Panizzi joined the team to give the squad the benefit of his experience on a rally that he has made his own, and to highlight areas where the Satria Neo S2000 can benefit from further development.
The 10th round of the IRC featured slippery tarmac, changeable weather, and tight corners, which all tested power, traction and grip. The event formed part of the World Rally Championship from 1973 to 2003, before being adopted by the IRC from 2006. San Remo is one of the most specialised tarmac rallies, where local experts traditionally dominate.
San Remo’s unpredictable weather saw conditions suddenly switching from dry and sunny to wet and slippery, giving teams plenty of problems with their tyre choices. Some 40 cars failed to cross the finish line. At the end of the rally, Panizzi kept up a good pace to finish at 18th place. Teammate McShea exited halfway due to seizure of his power steering.
The two Neo’s competed against the likes of established manufacturers Peugeot, Skoda, Ford and Honda.
Whats important is that the team was able to make more tremendous gains in terms of further developing the Satria Neo S2000 with the selected drivers’ wealth of experience and previous roles in developing rally vehicles.
What is it that people say? It ain’t over , it’s just the beginning. 🙂
You can visit our Facebook page for more pictures of the San Remo Rally.
Rally of Scotland
Rally of Scotland debuts this weekend as the 11th IRC round takes place. Die hard fans of the team would know that we finished second place last year. This year the team returns with Alister McRae and new recruit British Rally champion Keith Cronin.
The three-day rally will commence on Friday, 15th October and cover a total of 196.92km of competitive special stages. There will be two evening stages on Friday through the grounds of Scone Palace before the teams face the high-speed and fast-flowing special stages in the forests of Perthshire and Stirlingshire. The ceremonial finish will be at Stirling Castle on Sunday, 17th October.
The weather is predicted to influence the outcome of the event. The weather forecast for the weekend is brighter skies, meaning more grip for the drivers.
The team spent the previous week in Wales testing and developing the Satria Neo S2000 and preparing for the rally. Cronin will also have this time to familiarise himself even more with the car. Scotland will be his second outing with the neo, after his debut in Czech.
Young Tom Cave will also be entering the Scotland round as a privateer. He finished 8th overall in 2009. Read more about Tom Cave here.
So what are the expectations of the team? Having won the Scotland rally last year, returning to Scotland raises the expectations many have on PROTON. The team hopes to repeat or better last year’s performance.
Improvements have been made to the car and the team’s selected participation in the IRC this season is also more geared towards trying a lot of new things as well as driver combinations in preparation for a stronger assault in 2011.
Here’s to a good show this weekend! And we’ll be back with more updates.