PROTON’s PG Andersson fought off a difficult and challenging Rally New Zealand to chalk up his second successive podium finish in the Super 2000 World Rally Championship (SWRC) contenders.
Andersson drove the Satria Neo S2000 to second place in the three-day rally after setting a blistering pace and competitive stage times.
The Swedish driver began promisingly on the first special stage of Leg 1 leading the S2000 class and posting 8th fastest time overall, just 1.4 seconds behind overall rally leader Petter Solberg in the world rally car.
The Satria Neo S2000 was again the fastest S2000 car on the third and final day of rallying which consisted of 22 special stages.
Rally New Zealand was run over a competitive distance of 413.94km. Leg 1 on Friday saw drivers taking on eight special stages with another seven special stages on Saturday. Sunday’s third and final leg was contested over seven special stages.
Andersson who had rallied the Satria Neo S2000 to its maiden victory in SWRC at his home rally in Sweden, is currently fourth in the FIA SWRC Drivers’ Standings after two rounds with 25 points, while McRae is in eighth position. The team had elected not to compete in the Rally of Portugal, the third round of the SWRC, due to commitments in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC).
The PROTON Motorsports team has shown great speed on this latest round of the Super 2000 World Rally Championship, especially on today’s final day special stages. While the roads closer to Auckland today are all new for the rally this year, and are quite different in nature from the rest of the route, the Satria-Neo S2000 – and both Andersson and Alister McRae have been fastest.
Despite enjoying competitive times, pacing himself to as high as fourth in the SWRC class and 12th overall, McRae was forced to bow out of the rally early due to mechanical problems.
words: PROTON pix: A. Lavadinho