Blog Archives

Malaysian Rally : We are the champions!

The PROTON Motorsports rally team did it! They won, and what a sweet victory too, with Chris at 1st and Alister at 3rd placing overall. Congratulations team PROTON!


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 😉

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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.

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 🙂

The other side of rally

It’s not always about loud exhausts and screeching brakes at rallies. If you thought rally events were just about the rallying bit, well you’ve not quite grasped the enormity of the entire event.

At rallies, many other events take place. There are car shows and exhibitions, entertainment and charity events. At one of the previous rallies, the organizers even brought in little ponies for rides, had dogs and roosters (yes, roosters!) on show and life size cartoon characters were running all around the grounds of the service park! I suppose these were added attractions to the actual event itself, that lent to the overall festive mood of the service park and surrounding areas. At the recent Australian rally, there was even a special cocktail created in honour of our S2000 – how flattering!

The S2000 cocktail @Rally Queensland

Life sized cartoon character at the closing ceremony of Rally Hokkaido

Ponies on display at the service park – Rally Hokkaido

Then there are the fans, the wonderful supportive fans. They who come from far and near to catch the cars and drivers in action, some going home with autographs and other merchandise the team may have given them, others just happy to have had a glimpse of their favourite teams, cars and drivers. Some fans even go as far as making their own merchandise! And may I add, the team at PROTON simply love their fans to bits!

Fans gathered at the PROTON service tent in Hokkaido

And finally rally events don’t forget the needy. And the team is ever ready to support any good cause. While at the Rally of Queensland recently, PROTON took the opportunity to contribute to a good cause by participating in a charity auction. The auction was organized by Variety Queensland, an Australian based worldwide charity for children. Shirts were signed by the PROTON R3 Malaysia Rally team’s ace drivers Alister McRae and Chris Atkinson and put up for auction to raise funds for the charitable organization.  We hope they manage to raise a significant amount for the cause they believe in.

Alister McRae and Chris Atkinson signing T-shirts to be auctioned for charity at Rally Queensland

So you see, it’s not always just about men and women in crazily fast cars…:)

Rally Queensland : Can cars really fly faster than choppers?

Yes they can.

And that’s exactly what happened when PROTON and Chris took on a chopper earlier this week in the Rally Car vs Helicopter race. The event was part of the pre-rally activities that took place in the International Rally of Queensland, the fourth round of the 2010 FIA-Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC).

The race was held at the Sunshine Coast Airport in Queensland. The airport had to be closed for about an hour for the race and Chris Atkinson beat the chopper in an extremely close battle between screaming tyres and chopper blades.

Check out the cool pics of the race below and there’s more pictures and videos on our Facebook page.

Supported by the Sunshine Coast Regional Council, the rally featured many activities including the local Australian Rally Championship and the Australian Classic Rally Competition.  The event attracted thousands of spectators from around the region.

The Satria Neo S2000 fastest in most stages…

At the rally of Queensland last weekend, our team set the pace by winning nearly every stage in the rally. Chris and Alister were initially leading the event that was held in the forests of the Sunshine Coast, almost tasting victory when they were forced to retire due to mechanical problems.

Overall, the team between Chris and Alister won 15 out of the 18 stages for the entire rally. Chris won 11 out of the 18 stages, and retired when his car stalled in a creek crossing while Alister won a total of four stages but retired with mechanical problems on the second stage of the final day of the rally. Not bad achievements at all by our team.

India’s Gaurav Gill in his Mitsubishi won the rally, round four of the 2010 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship, one minute 16 seconds ahead of Australian brothers Glen and Matt Raymond. Gaurav’s teammate Katsuhiko Taguchi from Japan came in third. Well done, guys!

Stay tuned for the upcoming fifth stage of the APRC, the Indonesian Rally which will be held on 25th – 26th September before the team moves on to the final stage in China in November.

And that’s that, folks. Have a good week ahead 🙂

**Watch the video of the Rally Car vs Helicopter race and view more photos of PROTON Satria Neo S2000 in the International Rally of Queensland on the Official PROTON Satria Neo Super 2000 Facebook page.

“Spot the Difference” Online Contest

Happy Thursday, everyone! We’ve got an easy peasy contest lined up for our fans over here at the PROTON Motorsports blog. Titled “Spot The Difference” online contest, all you have to do is spot the differences in the images provided below and answer two easy questions.

The first five (5) readers with a sharp eye who are able to spot the differences between the two PROTON Satria Neo S2000 Rally car images will stand a chance to win exclusive autographed items by the PROTON Satria Neo S2000 R3 Malaysia Rally Team drivers themselves. Everyday for the next three days, the first five (5) readers will be able to participate in this contest and win those prizes. Cool, eh.

So what do you need to do exactly?

Answer this question:

1. What is the name of the first driver of the PROTON R3 MALAYSIA RALLY TEAM?

* He has been involved in motorsports for the past 16 years, participating in more than 80 WRC events which is not surprising as he comes from a family of rally drivers, father Jimmy and late brother World Rally Champion Colin.

a) Stephane Prevot

b) Bill Hayes

c) Alister McRae

d) Chris Atkinson

Then spot the differences between the two images below and answer the question that follows:

Spot the objects that do not belong on the PROTON S2000 Rally Car:

a) The PROTON logo shield

b) The thunder bolt

c) The R3 logo

d) The star

So how do you submit your entries? Just post your answers in the comments box below.  Don’t forget to leave us your email address so we can contact you.

And of course, as with everything in life, there are rules to follow. So let’s go through some basic rules and regulations shall we?

“SPOT THE DIFFERENCE” Online Contest Rules & Regulations

  1. The “SPOT THE DIFFERENCE” online contest (“Contest”) is organized by Group Marketing & Branding Division of PROTON Holdings Berhad (“PROTON”).
  2. The contest period is from 29th July 2010 to 31st July 2010 and open to anyone above 18 years of age except employees of PROTON Holdings Berhad and its Group of Companies (“PROTON”) and their immediate families, PROTON’s advertising agencies and appointed distributors.
  3. To stand a chance at winning the limited edition autographed items, the contestant has to:
    1. Be a member of the OFFICIAL PROTON SATRIA NEO SUPER 2000 fan page on Facebook
    2. Be one of the first 5 daily entries with the correct answers.
  4. All cost and expenses incurred by the participants under the Contest shall be borne by the participants themselves.
  5. The judges’ decision is final and no appeal whatsoever shall be entertained.
  6. Winners would be notified via email. If any winner does not respond within 3 days, the next quickest participant with the right answers shall be deemed the winner.
  7. The names of the daily winners will also be posted on this Blog, Facebook and Twitter.
  8. Prizes unclaimed after a period of one (1) month will be forfeited.
  9. PROTON and its agencies shall be entitled to use the winners’ names and/or photographs for the purposes of publicity, advertising and/or trade without any compensation or notice to the winners.

Copyright Info © 2010 Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Sdn Bhd

So hurry and participate now! Watch this space on Monday, 2nd August 2010 for the winner’s list and see if you made it on the list 😉

Rally Whangarei : Sweet podium finish

Apologies for the late update here on the PROTON Motorsports blog. I have been away for a bit…but I am back and I must say all of us at PROTON are just so happy for the PROTON R3 Malaysia Rally Team, we had our very first podium finish at the Rally of New Zealand. Finally, all hard work paid off for the team.

Let’s go through a quick recap of the New Zealand rally.

Attended by thousands of spectators, the rally, a four day event, run over the toughest of the North Island roads in typically changeable Kiwi conditions saw dry sunny conditions on Day 1 of the rally with a sudden bout of heavy rain on Sunday day 2. Suffice to say, visibility was poor on day 2 for the drivers and it was a challenge indeed.

Alister McRae, who drove on both days with the main aim to garner more points, was rewarded with an entirely untroubled second place.

Chris however, retired on day 1 due to a snapped alternator belt but returned on day 2 under super rally rules. He set the fastest time on SS9 but unfortunately had to stop at SS14 due to an unidentified engine problem.

Also, both Alister and Chris were regularly in the top three APRC times throughout the rally.

Alister & Bill were initially positioned at third place during the closing ceremony due to an error by the organizers which was later rectified.

Hayden Paddon in a Mitsubishi EVO IX and John Kennard, both Kiwi drivers, took victory on both days. 23 year old Hayden Paddon also won 13 of the event’s 16 competitive stages and set five new stage records.

You’ll find more updates and pictures on our Facebook page so if you’re not a fan, you should join us now.

Once again, well done to the team and here’s to PROTON’s first podium finish for 2010 and more to come!

Next up is the International Rally of Queensland. More details on the upcoming rally in future posts.

Leaving you with some quotes from the team and do have yourselves a splendid week ahead!

Alister McRae:
“I knew the car was capable of this kind of performance, and I know it’s capable of going quicker as well. Taking second in the APRC here is really important for the team, it’s a real shot in the arm for everybody. But now we want to win. We know we have the pace to win these APRC rounds and that’s got to be the next step in Australia at the end of the month. In the end, we had the perfect rally.

We didn’t have to touch the car at all, the boys didn’t lay a spanner on the PROTON once, which is really encouraging from a reliability point of view. We weren’t going anywhere near flat out with the car, though. The main aim from this event was to pick up points and that’s what we have done. What a great place to go rallying, though. Even in the pouring rain today, it was fantastic to drive those stages again. You can really put the hammer down and push on, knowing the car’s going to stick before leaping over the cambers and into the corner. It’s been a great weekend.”

Chris Atkinson:
“I love the roads down here in New Zealand and this car suited the stages perfectly. I was amazed at just how much speed you could carry through the corners in this car, there’s so much grip in the PROTON, it’s fantastic. We managed to set some competitive times on this event, which is pleasing. But what’s more important is that we know what we were doing to set those times and, believe me, there’s more to come from the car.

We arrived in Whangarei with a bit of pressure on, you know we hadn’t pulled the result we might have done in the IRC round [at Ypres] and while we’d shown great stage times and Alister led and almost won in Malaysia, we needed to put some points away down here. Unfortunately for us, we had a freak thing with the alternator belt on the first day: had it not been for that I reckon there would have been two PROTONs on the podium and who knows who would have been on which step! This has been a really positive and encouraging weekend.”

Chris Mellors (team principal):
“I’m happy with that result. Both drivers were out there under strict instructions about how to drive the cars, so we know there’s more to come from the Satria and Alister and Chris. I was really pleased with the way Chris went in particular, he showed some great speed and set some very good times, some of which we’re told were close to stage records set in the dry. Alister was, as usual, very competitive, quick and consistent.

We’ve had a bit of a tough run recently, so to be heading home with a result, second place under our belts, puts more wind in the sails. We’re going to be doing some more testing and more development work ahead of the next APRC round in Queensland. Like Alister said, we want to take that next step up the podium.”

Ypres Rally:You win some, you lose some


Yesterday’s final day at Ypres Rally saw all three of our cars retire at SS4 due to engine problems and were unable to continue with the rally. The team has already begun investigations into the root cause of the problem.

Rally Ypres was won by Belgian Freddy Loix in the Skoda Fabia S2000 21 seconds ahead of Jan Kopecky. His rival Kris Meeke crashed out and after that it was victory all the way for Fast Freddy. Third placing went to Peugeot’s Thierry Neuville.

Our team didn’t quite make it today but they did a good job as always, putting in a lot of effort, hard work and skill. In the world of rallying, nothing is predictable. Rallies take place on all surfaces and in all sorts of conditions. We’ve said this before, anything can happen in ralllies. That’s what makes it such a unique and interesting sport.

And as usual it was indeed a proud moment to see our team and cars compete globally. PROTON has certainly journeyed far and we look forward to Rally New Zealand with renewed spirit.

Ypres Rally : Shakedown & Driver Quotes


The Shakedown that took place yesterday was situated about 20 km drive from Ypres at the small town of Nieuwkerke. From 7pm till 11pm, over 80 cars ran the 4.88km stage. Thousands of spectators swamped the town and the surrounding countryside to catch a first glimpse of the cars in action.

My colleagues who are there at the rally tell me that there are many families with children amongst the group of spectators. That is so cool, reminds me of the amazing fans of Rally Hokkaido. Overall the spectator turnout at Ypres is great.

The team tested from 7pm till 11pm. It only began to get dark at 1030pm, and the team then fixed on the spotlights for a test before today’s rally that will run late into the night.

Will be back with more recaps.

In the meantime, we leave you with some quotes from our drivers:

Chris Atkinson:


“All’s going well and the car is working good.”

On his thoughts about today’s rally – “Realistically, it will definitely be a big challenge with extremely strong opposition, but we will go out and give our best”.

Alister McRae:

“This is one of the all time great rallies of Europe, and it’s really exciting for PROTON and myself to be here. It will be a tough rally with 24 other Super 2000 cars running on some very tricky stages. Looking forward to the weekend stages and we will see how it goes.”

Tom Cave:

“The car is good and I’m happy with how its running. We managed to try some changes to the setup on the car today which has helped me decide on the final setup I’ll be running for the rally.”

There are many more interesting pictures on our Official Facebook Page of the town, the service park, the drivers and the overall scene at Ypres Rally so be sure to check those out too. Goodnight for now!