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Published on January 19th, 2012 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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PROTON DRIVES INTO TOP 10 ON OPENING DAY IN MONTE CARLO RALLY

PROTON enjoyed an inspiring start to its 2012 FIA Super World Rally Championship (S-WRC) campaign by rallying into the top 10 at the end of the first four special stages at the Monte Carlo Rally. Driver Per Gunnar Andersson paced the Satria Neo S2000 sensibly to finish the drama-riddled Day One of the Rally which saw several of the World Rally Championship frontrunners retiring or suffering major setbacks.  Citroen’s Sebastien Loeb inherited the lead at the Monte Carlo Rally after pace setter Jari-Matti Latvala rolled his Ford into retirement. Loeb holds more than a minute’s lead over Spaniard Dani Sordo who damaged the suspension of his Mini, followed by Petter Solberg in the Ford in third while Sebastien Ogier in the S2000 Skoda is fourth.
PROTON too was caught up in the day’s drama when Italian driver Giandomenico Basso’s charge into a sixth gear corner at the opening special stage was blinded by the sun sending him crashing into a wall and forced into an early retirement. Andersson will start the second leg of the Monte Carlo Rally with a four-minute advantage over S-WRC rival Craig Breen in the Ford Fiesta.
Meanwhile, Datuk Abdul Razak Dawood, the Head of PROTON Motorsports, said to have the Satria Neo S2000 finishing in the company of the top three WRC contenders the likes of Citroen, Ford and Mini, was a tremendous boost for the team and Malaysian car manufacturer. “We have four more days of rallying in Monte Carlo, but the results of the first four special stages have nevertheless made it an impactful debut for PROTON on the S-WRC circuit and above all, a strong indication that we are progressing in the right direction in terms of development of the Satria Neo S2000.”
Positions after SS4:
Pos  Driver                         Team/Car            Time/Gap
 1.  Sebastien Loeb           Citroen                 1h30m30.1s
 2.  Dani Sordo                   Mini                       + 1m04.2s
 3.  Petter Solberg              Ford                      + 1m05.2s
 4.  Sebastien Ogier           VW Skoda            + 2m21.1s
 5.  Evgeny Novikov          M-Sport Ford       + 2m26.5s
 6.  Mikko Hirvonen           Citroen                 + 2m30.0s
 7.  Francois Delecour      M-Sport Ford       + 2m49.9s
 8.  Pierre Campana          Mini                       + 4m09.7s
 9.  Ott Tanak                      M-Sport Ford       + 4m14.0s
10.  P-G Andersson         PROTON              + 4m33.8s


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