Published on January 5th, 2011 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
PROTON MOTORSPORTS Team is launched for 2011
The PROTON Motorsports team today received the Jalur Gemilang from Youth and Sports Minister Yang Berhormat Dato’ Ahmad Shabery Bin Cheek. Also present were PROTON Advisor, Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and PROTON Holding sBerhad Group Managing Director Yang Berbahagia Dato’Haji Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir. PROTON will compete in the full season of the IRC and Asia Pacific Rally Championship(APRC) with the Satria Neo Super 2000 rally car. The national car manufacturer’s IRC campaign on the European front will be led by Chris Atkinson and newly-signed Per-Gunnar Andersson, while Alister McRae willlead the team’s charge in the APRC which will get underway with the Rally of Malaysia from 1-3 April.
Atkinson was formerly with the Subaru World Rally Team and is also two-time winner ofthe Asia Pacific Super 1600 Championship in 2003and 2004. Newly-signed Andersson is a double FIA Junior World Rally Champion having driven for the Suzuki and Ford World Rally Teams. McRae, whose family name has been synonymous with rallying for over three decades and a former Mitsubishi World Rally Team driver, hasplayed an instrumental role in the testing and development of the Satria NeoS2000 since 2009 which culminated with a 1-2 victory recently in the APRC category of the China Rally in November.
“Rallying not only serves as a proving ground for PROTON, but the viewership for both the IRC and APRC range in the millions, hence this brings invaluable brand exposure to PROTON and its partners on a global level. In addition, it also enables usto promote the brand and increase awareness in new and potential markets.”
In conjunction with the launch of its 2011 IRC and APRC campaign, PROTON Motorsports also welcomed on board the Yasmin Group and Sime Kansai Paints asteam partners. The contribution of both companies amounted to RM1 million insponsorship for the team.
The Satria NEO S2000 made its competition debut in the IRC 2009, and despite beinga vehicle that was still undergoing development, consistently posted top 10 finishes. The team’s best finish in 2009 was a second placing at the Rally ofScotland and a fourth placing in the Rally of Russia. In 2010, PROTON went on to secure second place inthe APRC Manufacturer’s Championship with its best finish being a 1-2 victory in the APRC category at the recent Rallyof China and a 2nd place finish in the APRC category of Rally New Zealand.
PROTON last competed as a factory-backed team at the 2004 Rally of Canberra.Throughout its years of international rallying, PROTON has won the APRC title three times in 2001, 2002 and 2004. In 2002 PROTON also won the FIA Production Car World Rally Championship on its debut.