PROTON FINISHES IN THE TOP 10 AFTER DAY 1 OF THE CZECH RALLY

Published on September 8th, 2011

PROTON finishes in 10th place with PG Andersson after an action packed opening day of thrilling competition in the Barum Czech Rally 2011. Pushing hard in his Proton Satria Neo S2000 in his first Czech Rally, PG will start day 2 in front of his team mate, the Italian driver, Giandomenico Basso who is currently in 18th position.

PG Andersson, making his Zlin debut in his PROTON Motorsports Satria Neo S2000, enjoyed a trouble-free morning but spun backwards into a hedge on stage six, which cost the Swede approximately 20 seconds. Another off-road moment on stage eight caused further delay but he was able to keep his composure to complete the day in a strong 10th position.

Team-mate Giandomenico Basso, who reported a bout of oversteer in the morning, lost time when he spun and stalled on stage five. A right-rear puncture on stage seven caused more frustration for the talented Italian, who reported the handling of his car had significantly improved following adjustments to the suspension in midday service and hope to be able to push harder for the start of the second day. He is 18th overnight.

The first 144km of fast, rough and bumpy tarmac is particularly tricky and difficult with tyre choice and car setup crucial for the teams. Out of the 123 registered competitors, 25 have already retired from various mechanical issues as well as accidents

PG Andersson says his tenure of 10th position on Barum Czech Rally Zlín heading into Sunday’s final six stages is down to a renewed feeling of confidence behind the wheel of his PROTON Satria Neo Super 2000.

Andersson, from Sweden, had never competed on the Czech asphalt round before and admits that he also prefers driving on gravel events. Despite a couple of off-road moments he has shone throughout the opening day of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge qualifier.

“I think this is the best I have driven on a Tarmac rally for a very long time and some of that’s got to be down to the way the car is improving,” said the 30-year-old. “There are still areas where we can find better settings but I have to say it’s going well,” said Andersson.

“It’s a very tough rally so it’s good to see PG in tenth place,” said Datuk Abdul Razak Dawood, Head of PROTON Motorsports. “Giandomenico had a spin [on stage five] and that dropped him down a little but generally it’s been very positive. But it’s not an easy rally, very bumpy, very rough and very fast so a combination of everything. We’re quite happy and we’re much closer to the pace.”

Datuk Abdul Razak singled out Andersson’s performance as being particularly impressive with the Swede making his debut on the asphalt event. “He’s driven hard all day with growing confidence, which is great. After several small changes, Giandomenico is also more happy with the current setup and despite some setbacks, is looking forward to the 2nd day of competition.”

words & pix: PROTON

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