Published on January 24th, 2012 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
FIRE PREVENTS PROTON OF MAIDEN VICTORY IN S-WRC AT THE MONTE CARLO RALLY
A fire in the engine bay three special stages to the finish of the grueling five-day long Monte Carlo Rally ended a spectacular run for PROTON in the 2012 FIA Super World Rally Championship (S-WRC) and the hopes of clinching its maiden victory on its debut season in the World Rally Championship. The fire was later traced to a fuel leak in the engine bay of the Satria Neo S2000, which forced PG Andersson into retirement in special stage 16, a 23.41km run through Moulinet-La Bollène Vésubie. Day four of the Monte Carlo Rally consisted of four special stages which included a repeat of the morning session’s 23.41km Moulinet-La Bollène Vésubie special stage and the 18.81km Lantosque-Luceram test. The PROTON driver had earlier completed a trouble-free drive through Moulinet-La Bollène Vésubie to tighten the grip on his lead in the S-WRC category, gaining another 8 seconds to extend his advantage to 1 minute 48 seconds over Skoda’s Kevin Abbring. Ford’s Craig Breen was a distant threat some 22 minutes behind.
With three more special stages to go – the two repeat stages and the fifth and final day of rallying which would have been run on the 5.16km Ste Agnès-Col de la Madone stretch – Andersson was also the only S2000 car in the top 10 front runners, holding on to 9th position overall with Abbring, Breen and Bouffier placed 12th, 15th and 16th respectively. The retirement ended what had been a spectacular drive by Andersson which saw PROTON leading the S-WRC class and outshining heavyweights Skoda, Ford and Citroen.
Citroen’s Sebastien Loeb continued to assert dominance to stretch his lead at the front of the pack and currently holds a 2 minute 41.5 seconds advantage over second placeman Dani Sordo in the Mini. Sordo however, saw his lead of more than a minute over Ford’s Petter Solberg trimmed to a mere 19 seconds with two more special stages to contest.