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Malaysian Rally : Day 2 & still kicking!

Beautiful jump by Chris

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. 🙂

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PROTON Motorsports@Kuala Lumpur Rally Day 2011

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.

The sun was hot, but the tracks were hotter – The Proton R3 Malaysia Rally Team Media Test Drive

The Proton R3 Malaysia Rally Team

The Proton R3 Malaysia Rally Team held a media test drive today at the Sepang International Circuit, PK4 Parking. We had a chance to see the Proton Satria Neo Super 2000 in action, with drivers Alister McRae and Chris Atkinson blazing the tracks. It was exciting to see how fast the car went and how skillful the drivers were in taking the curves and corners. And we were even told that the cars and the drivers are only performing 60% of their capacity and capabilities, which leave us wonder how fast can they go further.

We even had the opportunity to meet the drivers and co-drivers, Bill Hayes and Stephane Prevot in person for a short chat. Now, we hope to talk to them more and to share some of their thoughts before the Malaysian Rally begins this 24 and 25 April in Johor. So, be sure to come back as we will share more photos of the test drive today (and some behind-the-scenes shot) and more news to come.

P.S. Speaking of behind-the-scenes shot, we managed to catch Alister getting ice-cream from the ice-cream vendor. Not something you see everyday. 🙂 Scroll down all the way below. To see more photos, join us at our Facebook.

Proton Motorsports Site is up!

We have finally setup our Proton Motorsports blog site and we are excited to keep motorsports enthusiast updated with the latest news and updates about Proton’s involvement in motor sports. This will be our current site but keep an eye on us as we have plans to roll out an official site in the near future.

We are looking forward to the Malaysian Rally this coming 24th – 25th April in Johor Bahru. Stay tuned to us here and join us on Facebook and Twitter to get immediate updates about the Proton Malaysian R3 Rally Team as we will be doing LIVE coverage of the race.