Proton’s P.G. Andersson in action in the Brother International Rally of Whangarei in New Zealand.
P-G Andersson drove commendably in his Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) debut to clinch a second overall placing in the Brother International Rally of Whangarei in New Zealand.Battling back to reduce an overnight deficit of more than one minute as a result of a puncture, Andersson set the fastest time on five of the final day’s eight special stages to finish second overall 28 seconds behind the Skoda Fabia S2000 of Chris Atkinson.
A further two minutes behind was India’s Gaurav Gill. Proton teammate and defending APRC champion Alister McRae, meanwhile, finished fourth in the APRC class and fourth overall after enduring a difficult start to the rally in which, by virtue of starting first, played the role of ‘road sweeper’ for the rest of the competitors. Read the full news from Motortrader below.
PROTON’S P-G ANDERSSON SHINES IN RALLY DEBUT
Proton’s P-G Andersson drove commendably in his Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) debut to clinch a second overall placing in the Brother International Rally of Whangarei in New Zealand which ended this afternoon. Pushing hard all day to reduce an overnight deficit of more than a minute as a result of a puncture, Andersson set fastest time on five of the final day’s eight Special Stages and came within 28 seconds of the Skoda Fabia S2000 of Chris Atkinson (who was formerly with the Proton team). A further two minutes behind was India’s Gaurav Gill in third place.
Defending APRC champion Alister McRae meanwhile, drove his Satria Neo S2000 to fourth place in the APRC class and fourth overall after enduring a difficult start to the rally. By virtue of starting first, McRae played the role of ‘road-sweeper’ for the rest of the participants as he sped along the gravel tracks typical of the New Zealand event. There were 16 Special Stages over a competitive distance of 283.28 kms.
Andersson’s APRC campaign, on the other hand, had gotten off to a brilliant start when he was fastest through SS1. But a puncture in the next stage cost a minute and a half, dropping him to fourth in the APRC category. He fought back valiantly to finish the day in second place among the APRC contenders.
Protons were dominant with a clean sweep of the top three placings in the 2WD category as defending APRC 2WD champion Karamjit Singh took top honours ahead of privateer Mike Young in another 1600 cc Satria Neo. The team’s new member Kenneth Koh, in his very first international rally, also clinched second place in the APRC Junior category behind Young.
“To have both Andersson and McRae on the podium [in the APRC class] in the presence of intense competition, especially from the field of experienced local drivers, is an encouraging start to the season. We have the pace but in this case, we were a bit unfortunate to have been held back by punctures,” said Datuk Abdul Razak Dawood, the Head of Proton Motorsports.
“It’s going to be a close fight for this year’s APRC Championship. I have full confidence in the team with Andersson and McRae to defend the APRC title which we won in 2011,” he predicted.
“Proton’s performance in the 2WD class, however, has been a huge step forward. The participation of three privately-run 1600 cc Satria Neos is a great boost for Proton and in recognition of the vehicle’s competitiveness,” added Datuk Abdul Razak Dawood who has been involved in Proton’s rallying activities since the earliest days with the PERT team.
Proton’s Director of Group Marketing, Branding and Motorsports, John Chacko, said the participation of privately-run 1600cc Satria Neos underlined a strong and growing acceptance for the brand internationally.
“This is a tremendous boost in support of Proton’s aspirations of becoming a competitive global car manufacturer. As a manufacturer, we are committed to be better and the results in New Zealand certainly goes a long way in proving this point,” he said.