Back-to-back race victories in round one of the Malaysian Super Series (MSS) currently places the PROTON R3 Racing Team on top of the Malaysian Touring Car Championship in Class 2 for production cars up to 1600cc.
Young drivers Syafiq Ali and James Veerappan set a blistering pace in the Satria Neo of the Proton R3 Racing Team over the weekend to give the team’s 2012 MSS campaign a tremendous boost. Driving to victory in front of some 100,000 spectators who attended Grand Prix over the three-day weekend at the Sepang International Circuit, Syafiq and Veerappan were in dominant form.
Syafiq won the curtain-raiser nine-lap race on Saturday finishing first in class ahead of drivers Sutan Mustaffa and Ahmad Faizry. He also finished the race fourth overall.
Veerappan meanwhile, secured victory in the second nine-lap race on Sunday from fourth position on the starting grid, finishing an unassailable 36 seconds ahead of second place winner Abu Bakar Fitri with Kok Pak Chiang a further two seconds behind.
“Both drivers were incredibly fast over the weekend. It’s an excellent season-opener result and we look forward to keeping this strong momentum going throughout the year. The objective of course, will be to successfully defend the championship we won last year,” said Team Principal Tengku Djan Ley Tengku Mahaleel.
PROTON not only won Class 2 of the Malaysian Touring Car Championship in 2011 but also secured second place.
Unlike last season however, the 2012 Malaysian Touring Car Championship will be run under a new format as a one-hour race with a compulsory pit stop and each car must have two drivers.
“We have a good driver combination in Syafiq and Veerappan who bring a new level of pace, technical knowledge, maturity as well as enthusiasm into the team and this is an incredibly big motivating factor,” said Head of PROTON Motorsports Datuk Abdul Razak Dawood.
Commenting on the Satria Neo’s on-track performance, Datuk Abdul Razak added: “As a standard production model, the Satria Neo essentially offers a good overall package to begin with in terms of dimension, vehicle dynamics and performance. It is a competitive car and we have clearly underlined this by winning last year’s MSS title, as well as the overall Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) manufacturer’s, driver’s and two-wheel drive titles.”
“As a team and as a division, R3 has achieved a great level of maturity and accomplishments for a relatively new entity in terms of engineering prowess and technical knowledge via its racing involvement. Research and development drives R3’s strong winning spirit which in turn translates to performance-driven road-going production models.”
The team’s participation in motorsports remains an instrumental and driving force in the development and engineering of new high performance technology for Proton cars. Lessons on the race track are available to the public in the form of the limited edition R3 Satria Neo as well as R3 performance parts for other Proton car models.
Round one of the MSS was run as two support races in conjunction with the Petronas Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix.
words & pix: PROTON