The PROTON R3 Malaysia Rally Team has just completed round two of the APRC Rally Hokkaido, once again demonstrating the pace and potential of the Satria Neo S2000 – with Alister McRae taking points after setting more fastest times among the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship competitors.
On the opening stages of the first leg, Alister McRae suffered 2 successive punctures and lost almost 1 minute. His rally ended shortly after, when a rock damaged the sump of the Proton Satria Neo S2000. Chris retired after his Proton suffered engine problems from a bent valve.
The second leg of the rally started out well for our team with both drivers putting in a solid drive. After encountering engine trouble from day 1, Chris and Alister returned to the rally under Super Rally regulations on day 2. Both did good and set their times in the top five before Chris had to stop. Unfortunately, Chris’s engine faced similar problems after the final special stage of the day forcing him into retirement.
Alister eventually finished, and collecting 3 very important APRC championship points. Chris Atkinson is now sixth in the championship and McRae seventh, with four rounds to run.
Japanese driver Katsu Taguchi and co-driver Chris Murphy won the Rally Hokkaido with his MRF tyres Mitsubishi Evo car.
Round three of APRC will be held in New Zealand. The International Rally of Whangarei will be held on 3-4 July, to be followed by the international rally of Queensland.
PROTON TEAM DELAYS IRC START UNTIL YPRES
The Proton team will delay the start of its Intercontinental Rally Challenge campaign until the Geko Ypres Rally after confirming it will skip next month’s Rally d’Italia-Sardegna.
PROTON will now begin its programme on the asphalt-based round in Belgium from 24-26 June instead.
Team principal Chris Mellors said: “We had looked at starting our IRC programme in Sardinia but we’ve decided to go for Ypres instead. If we’d gone to Sardinia it would have seriously restricted the amount of asphalt testing we’d have been able to do with the car before Belgium. We felt it made more sense to focus on preparing the cars and drivers for Ypres, which is undoubtedly one of the classic European events.”
Tom Cave, who had planned to drive a privately-run Satria Neo in Sardinia, has also elected to skip the gravel rally. The 18-year-old wants to get more experience of driving his Proton away from the rigours of a two-day IRC qualifier so will contest a national event in his native Wales instead. (We will run 3 cars in Ypres, Belgium. Tom Cave is an upcoming young driver, whose team has elected to buy a Proton s2000 and to rally it).
The rally team will be in New Zealand for the International Rally of Whangarei on 3rd – 4th July (Sat-Sun) for the third round of APRC. To follow the Rally team:
ASIA PACIFIC RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP (APRC) 2010
24 - 25 April Malaysian Rally Asia Cup
22 - 23 May Rally Hokkaido, ( JP) Asia Cup
03 - 04 July Rally of Whangarei, (NZ) Pacific Cup
31 July - 01 August Rally Queensland, (AU) Pacific Cup
25 - 26 September Rally Indonesia Asia Cup
06 - 07 November China Rally Asia Cup
INTERCONTINENTAL RALLY CHALLENGE (IRC) 2010
24-26 June Belgium
15-17 July Azores
27-29 July Czech Republic
15-17 October Scotland