APRC-WINNING SATRIA NEO S2000S SETS OUT TO REVERSE PROTON’S FORTUNES IN THE IRC AT CZECH RALLY

Published on September 2nd, 2011

PROTON continues its campaign in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) when round seven of the championship returns to the high-speed and tricky asphalt roads of the Barum Czech Rally Zlin this weekend.

The team’s two Satria Neo S2000 cars will be piloted by two-time FIA Junior World Rally Champion, P-G Andersson and double FIA European Rally Champion, Giandomenico Basso.

Based in the south-east of the Czech Republic – some 300 km east from the capital Prague and about 200km north from the Austrian capital of Vienna – the 41st edition of the rally will be contested through the forests close to the city of Zlin. The event will consist of 15 special stages with a combined competitive distance of 248.48km.

Rallying begins with a 9.36-kilometre test along a super special stage in the town centre which will be run in the dark before day two takes teams through another nine special stages totaling 133.4km. The third and final day will feature six special stages with a distance of 115km. The event has also attracted 29 S2000 cars, 14 of which consisting of 14 Skoda Fabia S2000s, from a total of 123 registered entries. Other S2000 contenders comprises of Ford, Peugeot and Volkswagen.

“The Satria Neo S2000 has certainly enjoyed a more competitive season in 2011 both in the IRC and APRC. Much of the success so far has been on gravel and as we gain more experience and data competing on asphalt and tarmac, we hope to unlock the full potential and pace of the car,” said Datuk Abdul Razak Dawood, Head of PROTON Motorsports.

“The roads on this rally can be quite bumpy with some broken tarmac, which is good for me – this kind of condition suits me quite well. I haven’t competed in Zlin before, but I have heard a lot about the rally. I’m looking forward to getting out there and driving again to chase a good result,” said Andersson.

Meanwhile, team mate Basso who will be returning to the Barum Czech Rally Zlin after several outings in the past shares Andersson’s enthusiasm, adding that the roads in Zlin are also known to be notoriously difficult.

“The most important thing is to find a good confidence in the car on the bumpy surface. Barum is not like a normal Tarmac rally, it is very specific. The bumps make finding the right set-up complicated so there is a lot of work to do with the dampers. The roads in Zlin can be especially difficult when there is rain,” said the experienced Italian.

words & pix: PROTON

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