PROTON R3 Motorsports celebrated podium finishes across three countries in an epic motorsports weekend which saw the Proton Satria Neo participate in the World Rally Championship (SWRC) in Great Britain, the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) in Hokkaido, Japan, and Malaysian Super Series (MSS) at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.
Rally Great Britain (SWRC)
Young Welshman, Tom Cave clinched the second-place spot for Proton R3 Motorsports Rally Team in the Super 2000 World Rally Championship round of Great Britain, driving a Proton Satria Neo S2000 rally car. He drove a well-measured drive in what is only his second outing this year for the PROTON team. It was a far tougher weekend for Super World Rally Championship leader PG Andersson after retiring from the first leg of the rally.
Despite this, he managed to put in some impressive stage times after restarting and taking two-stage wins to finish sixth. This result meant PG Andersson extended his lead in the SWRC Championship by eight points with Hayden Paddon from New Zealand sharing joint second-place with Irishman, Craig Breen. The rally was won by Ford Fiesta S2000 driver, Craig Breen with Yazeed Al-Rajhi finishing third in another Ford.
Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) Rally Hokkaido
It was a great outing for the Proton R3 CUSCO Rally Team in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) round of Rally Hokkaido 2012 as the team finished first, second and third in the 2WD category. Malaysian Rally legend and three-time previous overall winner of the APRC, Karamjit Singh continued his dominance in the 2WD category by winning it outright despite a puncture which lost him almost one and a half minutes. Pushing hard in his 2WD Proton Satria Neo Group N rally car, Karamjit clawed his way back into the lead to take victory and maximum points to extend his 2WD Championship lead.
Karamjit’s Japanese teammate Akira Bamba had much to celebrate also, clinching his second consecutive APRC Junior Championship title after finishing first in the APRC Junior Category and second in 2WD after his closest rival Michael Young from New Zealand crashed out in Leg 1. Malaysian Junior driver Kenneth Koh rounded of the perfect weekend for the team by finishing second in the Junior category and 3rd 2WD competitor. Overall, it turned out to be a fantastic weekend for PROTON despite the retirement of both Proton Satria Neo S2000 cars driven by Alister McRae and Juha Salo.
Malaysia Super Series (MSS)
Closer to home, the Proton R3 Race Team pair of Syafiq Ali and James Veerapan clinched the Malaysian Super Series (MSS) at the Sepang International Circuit with one round to go in their Proton R3 Satria race cars. The team started out strong and was aiming for its fourth successive Malaysian Touring Car Class 2 category win. By lap 12 of the one-hour race and leading the MTC 2 class, James Veerapen was knocked off the track into the gravel by another competitor at turn 12 but got underway again thanks to the quick action of the track marshals. Despite having lost plenty of time in that incident, the team made a strong comeback to finish in fourth and clinching the Championship with an unassailable 70 point lead.
words & pix: PROTON