Published on October 2nd, 2011 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
PROTON Takes 3 Podium Spots In Rally Of Hokkaido
PROTON emerged a dominant force in Rally Hokkaido with three cars finishing on the podium in round five of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC). In the main event, Alister McRae turned around his misfortunes on day 1 to finish third in the Satria Neo S2000. Beginning the second leg of the rally 31.4 seconds adrift of second placeman Katsuhiko Taguchi in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, McRae won two of the morning’s four special stages to close the gap to within 18.5 seconds with Indian driver in another Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X in the lead.
McRae kept the pressure on the two front running Mitsubishis but in the end had to contend with third place despite closing the gap to within 8.8 seconds and being the fastest driver on Leg 2 of the rally. The results in Japan will set the stage for a three-way battle for this year’s APRC crown with Alister McRae leading PROTON team mate Atkinson followed by Indian driver Gaurav Gill in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X. The next and final round of the APRC will be held in Longyou, China in November. An equally much celebrated result for PROTON in Rally Hokkaido was also the dominant drive demonstrated by its two Group N 1600 Satria Neos. PROTON clinched two more podium finishes with Malaysian Karamjit Singh and Japanese team mate Akira Bamba finishing first and second respectively in the APRC 1600cc Two Wheel Drive category. Bamba also secured the inaugural FIA APRC Junior Championship title with the Cusco prepared Proton Satria Neo Group N rally car. Another Malaysian driver Gunaseelan Rajoo meanwhile, clinched the Class “A” title in the APRC 1600cc Two Wheel Drive category, in a Class “A” Proton Satria Neo.