PROTON FIGHTS ON DESPITE SETBACKS IN SAN REMO

Published on September 25th, 2011

PROTON’s charge into the top 10 at the San Remo Rally was dealt a cruel setback when Italian driver Giandomenico Basso was forced to concede his drive to a strong 8th position after going off the road in the final seventh special stage of the day.

Basso was able to continue but the excursion, due to a malfunctioned intercom into the 44km seventh special stage, cost him almost five minutes to drop to 13th position overall from a field of 72 competitors who started the two-day rally and round 9 of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC).

A former winner at San Remo, Basso set 8th fastest time in the opening 13.06km Coldirodi special stage to finish seven seconds adrift of stage winner Andreas Mikkelsen in the Skoda Fabia S2000. The Satria Neo S2000 however, did especially well along the shorter 7.36km second special stage with Basso setting sixth fastest time.

In a thrilling opening day, Skoda’s Mikkelsen led the rally only to have his lead snatched away from fellow Skoda driver Freddy Loix in the day’s final and seventh special stage. Loix currently holds a 2.7 second advantage.

“I am obviously very disappointed  but in rallying, we have come to accept the unexpected. There’s certainly a lot of catching up to do on the second day but overall, the Satria Neo S2000 has good pace and performance, and I believe barring anymore untoward incidents, we have a good chance of fighting for a top 10 position,” said Basso, who is currently just over a minute adrift of Toni Gardemeister in 10th position.

PROTON’s Chris Atkinson’s rally meanwhile, came to an early end due to an electrical problem on the opening special stage. The challenging San Remo asphalt had also taken its toll on Peugeot’s Guy Wilks who retired on the same stage after hitting a bridge.

The San Remo Rally will be run over 13 special stages in the province of Imperia with a competitive distance of 225.77km.

words & pix: Proton

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