DERBYSHIRE, ENGLAND – PROTON officially unveiled its line-up for the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) to international media at the Rally Show, a two-day rally-oriented festival, held here at the spectacular ground of the Chatsworth House on Saturday 6 June 2009.
PROTON UNVEILED PROTON SATRIA NEO SUPER 2000 AS ITS IRC RALLY CAR
The team, made up of two-times British rally champion Guy Wilks and co-driver Phil Pugh will be fielding the stunning Proton Satria Neo Super 2000, designed and built by British team Mellors Elliot Motorsport (MEM), at the Rally Challenge.
Guests at the Rally Show were thrilled as the pair showed their skills in the bright yellow Proton Satria Neo Super 2000 during the demonstration laps.
Despite his hectic schedule filled with interviews by international TV and press, Wilks still managed to find some time to be the judge for the best Proton car at the Proton Owners Club display whilst entertaining the crowd who requested for his autograph. The club participated in the Rally Show’s car club display section, which was one of the highlights of the show.
The Proton Satria Neo Super 2000, which attracted huge attention at the Rally Show, will contest in all seven remaining rounds of the 2009 IRC, starting with the Belgium Ypres Rally from 18 to 20 June.
Managing Director Proton Holdings Berhad, Dato’ Haji Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir said, “We are very excited to have Guy Wilks driving for PROTON in the IRC. After his stunning performance in the recent Pirelli Rally, we are positive about our capabilities to put up a strong challenge.”
“MEM has done a great job with the Proton Satria Neo S2000 and we will continue to improve as the year progresses,” he added.
Wilks, 28, the runner-up of the 2005 Junior World Rally Championship said, “This is fantastic news and a fantastic opportunity. PROTON and MEM are highly ambitious but they are also very realistic as newcomers to the IRC.”
“We need to make progress in every round and be ready to fight for the championship in 2010,” he said.
PROTON’s participation in the IRC challenge marks the Malaysian car manufacturer’s return to the global rally scene. The last time PROTON took part was in the 2002 Production World Rally Championship where Malaysian driver Karamjit Singh of the PROTON sponsored Petronas Eon Racing Team (PERT) bagged the championship also driving in an MEM developed car.
2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge calendar
Monaco 21-24 Jan Tarmec
Brazil 5-7 Mar Gravel
Kenya 3-4 Apr Gravel
Sata Rally Acores 7-9 May Gravel
Belgium Ypres Rally 18-20 June Tarmec
Rally Russia 9-11 July Gravel
Rali Vingo Madeira 30 July-1 Aug Tarmec
Czech Republic 21-23 Aug Tarmec
Spain 10-12 Sept Tarmec
Rally Sanremo 24-26 Sept Tarmec
Scotland 19-21 Nov Gravel
The IRC uses the standard FIA points system: 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1
The best seven scores added together will decide final championship results.