Published on July 12th, 2012 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
PROTON EYES 2nd SUCCESSIVE MALAYSIAN RALLY TITLE
PROTON returns to home soil for Round 4 of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) in search of a second successive victory in the Malaysian Rally in Johor this weekend. Leading the charge for PROTON will be defending APRC champion Alister McRae who finished third in Malaysia last year, and team mate PG Andersson who will be making his debut in the Malaysian Rally.
In preparation for what is the most important event of the season, PROTON has homologated several new parts and arrives in Johor Bharu with what will be a Satria Neo S2000 running on evolved specifications in pursuit of a repeat of 2011’s dominant performance in which the team clinched a double podium victory before the home crowd. The Satria Neo S2000 also arrives at the Malaysian Rally on the back of a crushing win in the recently-concluded Rally of Thailand where British driver Tom Cave had taken a 10-minute victory ahead of other competitors.
With a distance of 235.28km, the Malaysian Rally comprises 15 special stages run on gravel and taking competitors through what is reputed to being one of the most grueling terrains on the APRC tour. Another significant variable is the weather and temperature which can change at a moment’s notice as competitors brace themselves for both the heat and humidity, as well as torrential rain. A total of 16 entries have been confirmed for the APRC.
PROTON will also field three other drivers; Malaysian and reigning 2WD APRC champion Karamjit Singh, Japanese driver and defending APRC Junior champion Akira Bamba, and APRC debutante Kenneth Koh in the 1600cc Satria Neos of the Proton R3 Cusco Rally Team.
The Malaysian Rally kicks off on Friday with the ceremonial 2.5km Angsana super special stage designed for spectators and is located next to the Angsana Shopping Complex in Johor Bharu. And for the first time in decades, the first two of the Angsana super special stages will be held under the floodlights at night.
Leg 2 of the rally will take competitors through seven special stages, the longest of which is a 32.94km charge through the Tai Tak oil palm plantation which will be run twice, before returning to Angsana for a second short sprint. The third and final leg of the rally meanwhile, consists of seven more special stages.