Friday February 1, 2013
Proton to give the Rally of Sweden a miss this year
PETALING JAYA: Proton Motorsports will not start their season with the Rally of Sweden (from Feb 7-10) – as they did last year.
Team driver and Swede Per-Gunnar Andersson was in dominant form for Proton in the rally last year, winning the Super 2000 World Rally Championship (SWRC) race with co-driver Emil Axelsson.
However, delayed supply for vital parts to prepare the Satria Neo S2000 this year has made it impossible for the team to start the event in Karlstad this time.
It would have been good to compete as it would have helped the team fine-tune the car ahead of the season.
The team will now focus on regaining their superiority in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), which starts with the Rally of Whangarei in New Zealand from May 17-19.
Two years ago, Proton dominated the APRC scene by winning the drivers’ and constructors’ championships with Alister McRae behind the wheels.
Last year, Proton finished second behind Skoda while McRae took second place behind former team-mate Chris Atkinson, who moved to Skoda.
“We intend to finish first again this year,” said team principal Neil Mellor of their target for the APRC this year.
“Andersson and Axelsson dominated the rally in Sweden last year and it would have been nice to repeat it.
“Unfortunately, some vital parts did not arrive in time. Without those parts, we cannot start the rally. But the focus is the APRC and we’re excited to test the car for New Zealand soon.”