Proton commemorates podium finish in Scotland Rally with McRae

Published on December 16th, 2009

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PROTON recently held a media event to commemorate its recent first podium finish as the second overall winner in the Rally of Scotland, the final round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge 2009. Present at the event, which also marks the end of the motorsports season for PROTON was the successful and experienced rally driver himself, Australian based Scotsman Alister McRae, his co-driver Australian Bill Hayes, PROTON Board Member Dato’ Zainuddin Che Din and PROTON Holdings Berhad General Manager of Group After Sales, Datuk Abdul Razak Dawood.

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The successful podium finish demonstrated PROTON’s serious commitment, challenge and return to the motorsports arena after a hiatus of a couple of years. On this note, PROTON Holdings Berhad Group Managing Director, Dato’ Haji Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir said, “In today’s competitive environment, branding exercises are of pinnacle importance to PROTON and we have identified motorsports as one of the channels for this important exercise. Together with Mellors Elliot Motorsports, the Satria Neo has proven to be an ideal platform for creating a world-class rally car which has brought us to a podium finish in one of the toughest rallies in the world.”

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“PROTON has been involved in motorsports since 1991, with the Proton Saga rally cars of that generation which went on to be successful not only in national events, but in regional ones as well. With the inception of R3, Proton’s Motorsports Division, we hope to take our motorsports commitment and involvement to a higher level. R3 on the other hand, is more than just a branding tool. With research and development becoming part of its philosophy, it has nevertheless given PROTON a platform to further enhance its standing in the ever challenging motorsports environment,” said Dato’ Syed Zainal.

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Experienced Scottish rally driver McRae has a lot of optimism on the Proton Satria Neo Super 2000. He commented, “There is definitely a lot of potential in the car and I can foresee it to be part of the future of World Rallying.” The Proton Satria Neo Super 2000 was built to conform to the latest FIA Super 2000 regulations for rally cars and homologated for competition at the end of 2008. It was designed to cut development time as well as reduce costs for Manufacturers to participate.

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Selected members of the local motoring and mainstream media were given the opportunity to co-drive the Proton Satria Neo Super 2000 with Scotsman McRae at the wheel on a 2km track of twisty oil palm estate roads with short straights, typical of Malaysian Rally Stages just outside the Home of Malaysian motorsports and racing, the Sepang International Circuit. However, bad weather, selfishness and a total disregard of courtesy on the part of a motoring journalist from the new local motoring website www.driven.com.my prevented some members of the media, including representatives of Trafficmagonline as well, from experiencing such a thrilling and exhilarating ride in the Proton Satria Neo S2000 piloted by MacRae.

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On display at the Welcome Centre of the Sepang International Circuit was a showcase of cars exhibiting PROTON’s motorsports journey throughout the years, from the very first Proton Saga Rally Car of the early 90’s, to Proton current pride and joy in rallying, the Satria Neo Super 2000 sitting right up there at the pinnacle.

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To date, the Proton Satria Neo S2000 has participated in over 15 rallies worldwide. Notable results include a third fastest stage time in the first round of the World Rally Championship in Ireland, and a fourth overall finish in the IRC Rally of Russia, while regularly running strongly in the top ten positions in all other competitions. For more information and enquiries, log on to www.proton.com.

text: Azdee Amir  pix: Azdee Amir

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