PROTON has emerged champions at the Rally Longyou, China – the sixth and final round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship – held over the weekend. This marks the third successive APRC victory in China for the PROTON R3 Motorsports team with the tried and tested Proton Satria Neo S2000 rally car. A total of 99 cars started this rally, which was also part of the China Rally Championship.
After a weekend of flat-out racing through the bamboo forests and steep mountains of Longyou in China’s Zhejiang Province, Alister McRae guided his Proton Satria Neo S2000 to victory, with his team-mate Juha Salo finishing in third in what is only his third outing for the PROTON R3 Motorsports Rally Team.
The strength of the Proton Satria Neo S2000 is proven yet again as McRae was able to guide his rally car to victory without any major problems from start to finish of the rally.
The win also meant that PROTON ends the year in second position in the APRC overall Manufacturers Championship with Skoda taking first, Mitsubishi third and Subaru in fourth position.
The inconsistent stage surfaces brought on by rough gravel, a mixture of narrow roads and fast tarmac sections together with the warm afternoon temperatures made for a challenging spectacle for both spectators and competitors alike.
It had been a tough and challenging year for the team but the Proton Satria Neo S2000 had consistently proven its reliability and strength on some of the most punishing rallies in the world. PROTON also dominated the APRC 2WD category with a 1-2-3 finish, which saw Karamjit Singh crowned the APRC 2WD Champion for a second-year running.
Second was teammate Akira Bamba, who is also the new 2012 Junior Champion for the second consecutive time, while Kenneth Koh finished third in the 2WD class and second in the Junior Category in his first international outing. The Proton Satria Neo Group N rally cars used by the team were outclassing the competition and completing the grueling rally with no issues.
The PROTON R3 Cusco Rally Team had already sealed the 2WD APRC Manufacturers Championship and APRC Junior Championship titles in the previous round in Hokkaido, Japan, a repeat of victories from the 2011 season.
words & pix: PROTON