Proton makes pace in Spain

Published on September 16th, 2009

Team Proton Europe piled on a chunk of confidence into their own bucket with a stellar performance in Spain’s Rally Principe de Asturias.

Having kick-started their campaign whilst still conducting thorough development on their Proton Satria Neo S2000 has been a slight Achilles heel for the team in keeping pace with the more established teams plying their trade in the series but with dizzying amounts of hard work and passion, they have clawed back at the gap between their IRC rivals to less than a second per kilometer on the tarmac.

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“There’s no doubt we have made a big step forward this weekend. The improvements to the dampers and engine are reflected in our times compared to Rally Madeira and that just motivates the team to work even harder before San Remo,” said Proton driver, Guy Wilks.

Wilks and wingman Phil Hughes were flying as high as fifth spot before the driveshaft gave up the ghost and a puncture rubbed slat into their already smarting wounds. The consequences; a steep plunge to tenth on Friday’s last stage.

Nonetheless they managed to edge a rung up to ninth on Saturday’s first stage but alas the joy was as short lived as their driveshaft earlier and an impromptu off-road excursion on a sweeping left had them shaking hands with the barriers.

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“We had a bit of an overshoot on a left four, which had a lot of gravel on it. We beached the car on the end of a barrier and just couldn’t get reverse, so we spent 15 minutes jacking it out. There was no damage, just a front bumper missing, but we were so unlucky,” reminisced Hughes.

Once out of that doldrums, Wilks conjured up some demonic driving to produce a string of solid stage times that included a joint fourth fastest on SS15.

However, it was too little too late for the team and even with the string of good times they couldn’t make up for the lost time earlier and placed a respectable 19 spot overall in a field of 80 entrants.

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Sitting pretty atop the final results were Jan Kopecky of Skoda. The victory leaves him snarling at the tail of IRC points leader Kris Meeke of Peugeot by a single point wit just two rounds on the calendar.

Catch the distinctively sunshine yellow Satria Neo S2000 in action next at the IRC round of San Remo in Italy over the 24-26 weekend of September and the APRC-Rally Indonesia on 2-4 October.

text: Dinesh Appavu  pix: Proton

 

 

 

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