For our Malaysian Fans, catch the rally on Astro Eurosport 814:
Sunday Aug 28 08:17am – Day 1
Monday Aug 29 08:17am – Day 2
Monday Aug 29 14:47pm – Rally review, plus preview of next round
For our fans all over the world, check this webpage out to see availability of the telecast, and timing.
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!
There’s a new kid in town! Engineered for more spirited and dynamic driving enjoyment, we recently introduced the exclusive Proton R3 Satria Neo hot hatch.
Built by the talented folks at our Motorsports Division under the Race, Rally, Research (R3) brand name, the car is distinctively recognizable by its striking Fire Red exterior with a black painted roof.
Running the tried and tested 1600cc CAMPRO CPS engine, R3 engineers have upgraded its performance with the addition of Stage 2 performance upgrades inviting car enthusiasts to experience a greater dose of excitement. This increases power from the standard 125 bhp and 150 Nm of torque to 145 bhp at 7000 rpm and 168 Nm of torque at 5000 rpm coupled to a close ratio 5-speed manual transmission.
The R3 Satria Neo is an extension of PROTON’s involvement and experience in motor racing, and caters to a demanding segment of customers and enthusiasts who desire vehicles that are purpose-built for performance as much as it is practical for everyday usage.
The R3 Satria Neo’s promises an exhilarating drive. It’s features include an all-round CPS bodykit; an R3 designed rear roof spoiler; a front lip for improved down force; titanium coloured side strips; and a more muscular stance the result of a 10 mm drop in ride height. R3 engineers also made significant enhancements to ride and handling, with the use of specially-designed R3 performance springs for reduced body roll; recalibrated alignment, toe and camber settings for more grip and steering precision; and R3 edition 16” inch gunmetal lightweight alloys wrapped in softer compound Bridgestone Potenza RE001R 205/45 series profile tyres for better traction.
Inside, the R3 Satria Neo features a sporty, yet classy and alluring matte red and black two-tone interior. R3 limited edition front bucket seats wrapped in nappa leather with ‘Trivel’ finish, carbon effect PVC and red stitching replaces the standard seats. Its fiery personality is also accentuated by the use of matte red dashboard trims, gear console and handbrake handle; two-tone door trims; R3 floor carpets, an engine start button; aluminium foot pedals and gear knob.
Safety features built into the car include high performance brake pads capable of withstanding high-temperatures of up to 400 degree Celsius for increased fade resistance often associated with constant heavy braking; dual front airbags, and anti-lock braking system (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD). The car also comes fitted with Ecotint solar and security protection, and a 2-DIN audio head unit with 3D GPS navigation.
The R3 Satria Neo is priced at RM79,797 on-the-road inclusive of road tax and insurance, and can be viewed at Proton Edar’s Crystal showroom at the Proton Centre of Excellence, Shah Alam and any of the three Platinum showrooms located at Mutiara Damansara, Juru and Plentong. Bookings can be made immediately at any of Proton Edar’s 23 sales branches throughout Peninsular Malaysia with a fee of RM2,000 and purchasers can expect the car delivered to them within four weeks of obtaining loan approval.
For more information, visit your nearest PROTON showroom today, call PROTON i-care at 1-300-880-888 or log on to http://www.r3.proton.com.
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
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.
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.
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.
So you see, it’s not always just about men and women in crazily fast cars…:)
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
- The “SPOT THE DIFFERENCE” online contest (“Contest”) is organized by Group Marketing & Branding Division of PROTON Holdings Berhad (“PROTON”).
- 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.
- To stand a chance at winning the limited edition autographed items, the contestant has to:
- Be a member of the OFFICIAL PROTON SATRIA NEO SUPER 2000 fan page on Facebook
- Be one of the first 5 daily entries with the correct answers.
- All cost and expenses incurred by the participants under the Contest shall be borne by the participants themselves.
- The judges’ decision is final and no appeal whatsoever shall be entertained.
- 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.
- The names of the daily winners will also be posted on this Blog, Facebook and Twitter.
- Prizes unclaimed after a period of one (1) month will be forfeited.
- 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 😉
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.
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!
“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.”
“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.”
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.