Blog Archives

PROTON Motorsports Exhilarating Podium Finish in New Caledonia!

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).

PROTON@podium

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.”

A superb shot of the Neo in action!

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.

Advertisements

Malaysian Rally: Day 1 Recap

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.

Lucky fans with Chris and Alister at Aeon Tebrau City Shopping Centre. Catch Proton's display of it's current models there till Sunday, 3rd April.

Malaysian Rally: Shakedown & Weekend Ahead

Shakedown took place yesterday, at the Plaza Angsana. Check out some of the action below.

Service tent

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.

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 Fan Fare : My Monte Carlo Trip (Part 1)

Hello everyone! Remember our PROTON Motorsports fan who won the Rallye to Monte Carlo online game? The one we all envied for winning himself an all expense paid trip for two to watch the Rally in Monte Carlo. Yes, that’s our lucky guy, Mohd Akram Zaki. If you don’t you can read all about it here and here.

In this two part posting, you’ll be able to read about Zaki’s experience in Monaco with the PROTON Motorsports team, at the world’s oldest rally – the Rallye of Monte Carlo held from 19th to 23rd January, 2011.

Here’s the first installment of Zaki’s story. Enjoy!

My Monte Carlo Trip – by Mohd Akram Zaki

Fr left to right: Chris, Akram, Zaki and PG

10th of January 2011 – I received a call from PROTON’s Digital Marketing division, telling me that I won the Rallye to Monte-Carlo competition! I was in utter shock and had to calm myself down. From that moment on, my friends kept saying that my face was a reflection of excitement and happiness. It was indeed! I couldn’t sleep for an entire week just thinking about the rally that I was about to witness very soon. And in Monte Carlo! I was going to Monte Carlo!!

It all truly sunk in when I went to the PROTON Centre of Excellence for  a briefing before the trip.I met the PROTON Motorsports team and after a short briefing headed home full of anticipation of the coming week.

17th January 2011 – The day was finally here. I headed to KLIA with my friend,  Nik Mohd Azhar whom I chose to accompany me to Monaco. The whole flight took about 18 hours including a 4 hour transit in Dubai. We arrived at Cote D’azure airport in Nice, France at 1pm. We joined the group; that now included  members of the media as well. We met our drivers for the whole week, Ryan, Nick and Justin. Off we headed to our hotel in Valence, located about 400km from Nice. It took about 4 hours to get there. After dinner, we headed to our rooms to retire for the night and get some much needed rest.

18th January 2011 – We were taken to  a go-kart track somewhere between the town of Valence and our hotel to watch the rally cars at shakedown. I had no idea of the next surprise that was in store for Nik and me. The entire PROTON rally team were there when we arrived. I met Chris Mellors, team principal. He works together with Zuber Ismail, who manages the  teams affairs. I also met Chris Atkinson and Per-Gunnar Anderson, both of them well respected rally drivers, with Chris who used to drive for Subaru and PG winning JWRC titles previously. As I was taking pictures with them and the cars, one of the mechanics told me to get inside the car as I would soon be taken on  a taxi ride with PG behind the wheels. I was overjoyed with excitement and grateful at the same time as my wish had finally come true: to experience being in  the PROTON rally car. I had been wishing for it since the day found out I had won the competition.

It doesn’t get any better than this. Inside a fully prepared rally car, complete with roll cage etc, with one of the best rally drivers in the world. I just sat in the co-driver seat and took in all the sensations that I was experiencing. The acceleration, the cornering force, the sound of the car, the blurry vision, everything that I could absorb.. PG is a wonderful driver. He can drive the car at an incredible speed on a small track. The Neo performed amazingly and I loved it. I will remember this experience  for the rest of my life! Nik’s turn came next and I was positive he felt the same as I did. After the session the team headed back to the service park and we participated in a few rounds of kart racing. It was certainly a fun and enjoyable experience, driving in the cold winter even though my joints ached a little afterwards, but it was worth it!

Then we went to the service park where we joined the rest of the team at the team camp and I was greeted with the sight of the cars being maintained and it was interesting to see the team mechanics at their job checking to see if there were any defects on the car. I tried my best not to bother them but at the same time tried to get as close as possible to observe what they were doing. After lunch I explored the service park and got to see all the teams preparing their cars for the rally. It was very delightful to see lots of rally fans coming to see their favourite cars and teams. THe fans really took interest in our PROTON car as we are the only team using the bright yellow PROTON Satria Neo. Without a doubt the Neo was the most beautiful car there. I helped the team give out freebies to the visitors and introduce them to PROTON.

We stayed on till late evening to attend the official IRC drivers introduction event and applause our drivers and the team. Then we headed back to our hotel in the outskirts of Valence to have dinner and call it a day….we were so excited that day 1 of the rally would begin tomorrow….

Stay tuned for more of Zaki’s adventures in Monte Carlo…when Part 2 of his story is published next week.

The Rallye of Monte Carlo – Over too soon for the team

By now you may have heard the news – for those who have not, well luck was just not on our side this time around. The team has retired from the Rallye of Monte Carlo on the first day after a seemingly promising start, with both Chris and PG eventually falling out from the race. Since super rally rules do not apply for this event, the team will not be able to continue on day 2. They are disappointed for sure, but unfazed.

Chris stopped due to electrical problems at SS1 and the cause of the problem is still being investigated while PG had an accident.  PG was ranked 12th fastest on SS1 out of 36 S2000 cars; but then unfortunately met with a minor accident at SS2 that forced him to retire from the rally. 15 other cars retired at this stage as well.

120 cars are contesting in the Rallye Monte Carlo, and we wish the rest of the drivers the best of luck. For updates and news on the other contestants of the IRC Rallye of Monte Carlo, click here.

It takes determination and skill to navigate the Col De Turini, at top speed and in challenging conditions. Well done to the team for their efforts. Remember that each time you fail, you move one step closer to succeeding. There’s still a long journey to go this season and it’s only just the beginning.

Quotes
Chris Atkinson said:

“When I woke up this morning, I was really looking forward to driving the car. There’s nothing like the feeling of driving one of these rally cars as fast as you can down a stage, it’s awesome and it’s why we do what we do. And everything was cool from the start, no dramas, warmed the tyres up, off the line, everything was good, then nothing. We were less than a kilometre in and the car stopped. The engine had cut and there was nothing, no electrics at all. We couldn’t start the car. I tried to fix it, but there was nothing we could do. The team have looked at the data now and the problem was caused by a voltage surge which blew the control box. This has never happened to us before in testing or anything, it’s an absolute mystery – but when things don’t go your way, they really don’t go your way. The frustration is that we had the engine working really well in the test, it was great. The performance is definitely coming. It’s actually a really unusual feeling on the event, this was the first time I’ve retired on the first stage of an event and been completely out of the rally. I’m not a huge fan of superally [the regulation permitting crews to re-enter events on the following day], but I really would have been today. It just seems such a waste that we’ve now got two perfect rally cars sitting here doing nothing; the fans would love to have seen the cars on the stages tomorrow and P-G and I would love to have been driving them.”

P-G Andersson said:

“The first stage was good, no problems. I wasn’t pushing too hard, it was the first stage and we wanted to settle down. About five kilometres into the second stage, there was a double right-hander into a left, the car slid a little wide. I saw a ditch coming, there were some leaves in the ditch, but I thought it would be okay. It wasn’t, there was a big stone hiding under the leaves; we hit the stone and broke the front-left wheel rim, which caused us to have a puncture. Three kilometres later, while we were braking for a hairpin, one of the arm’s broke on the car and the wheel turned out. That was it, there was nothing we could do. We had to stop. I tried to fix it, but it was very doubtful that we would have got the car to service after the next stage. It’s really disappointing that this is the result of our debut with PROTON. Clearly, the car has good potential and it would have been fantastic to take a result for the team on my first time in the Satria, but it hasn’t gone that way. The new engine was good, we were getting more power lower down in the rev range, it was easier to drive than before. It’s just so frustrating that we don’t have superally to go out and do some more driving in the car, it would have been very useful to get some testing mileage done.”

Chris Mellors (team principal) said:

“The whole team is feeling the frustration from what has happened today, that goes without saying. We were all really upbeat coming into Monte Carlo, we’d done four days’ testing in the Alps and another three back in the UK – and we hadn’t put a spanner on the car. And today we have one car out with a simple accident, if you can call it an accident, and one car out with a freak electrical issue. I honestly wonder if there’s anything left for us to see, it’s just incredible. It’s a real shame for Chris [Atkinson], he’s gone out very early, but P-G [Andersson] took a sensible approach and came out of SS1 in 11th, I’m confident we would have been well inside the top 10 if it hadn’t been for his problems. We came here with a revised specification of engine and that worked well, the drivers were pleased with the way it was working – delivering the torque lower down in the rev range. We’ve taken some steps and we have seen the benefits from those steps, that’s one of the good things we take from here. Despite what has happened, there’s still a huge positivity around the team, we all know what PROTON Motorsports and this car is capable of. We’re unlocking the potential, there’s more to come.”

*****

On a brighter note, lucky grand prize winner Mohd Akram Zaki who won himself a trip for two to the rally in the Rallye of Monte Carlo online game, was given a ride of his life in Monaco. Akram and his friend, Nik Mohd Azhar were taken on a taxi ride in the Satria Neo S2000 rally cars by the drivers during shakedown a day before the rally began. Check out what Akram has to say here (It’s short, but its sweet!).

Fr left to rigt: Chris, Akram, Zaki and PG

Congratulations once again Akram, we hope you had a wonderful time! And to the rest of our fans, stay tuned for more exciting news from us in the future.

Leaving you for now with more pictures below. Have a great weekend, people!

Neo in action @Rallye Monte Carlo

@the service park

Contest winner gets a ride of his life~

Team shot. Akram and Zaki are somewhere in there as well 🙂

Rally of China: This is what the journey is all about


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.

Alister and Bill

Chris and Ben

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.

Rally of China : There are no Panda Bears in Longyou


Image courtesy of Google Images

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)… 🙂

Cars Geared for Season 2011 after Scotland Rally

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.

Recent rally updates and what’s to come

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



The San Remo rally was held on 24th -25th September 2010. The PROTON R3 Rally Team included one of the most successful drivers in the history of the San Remo Rally in the Italian tarmac event.

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.