Chris Atkinson said: “I can’t tell you how good it is to be back in a rally car again! And what a rally car! The Satria is amazing, a real driver’s car. I hadn’t done much testing before the start of the event and I’d been away from racing for a year and a half, so it was fantastic to get to shakedown and get through some corners.
Shakedown was good for us, it started dry and then poured with rain, so we got a good idea of what the car was going to do in both conditions. We had an electrical problem on the first stage which was a bit of a blow, but we were bang on it for the next one. This event was about getting a result for PROTON, once we’d lost our chance of winning, so I was driving with that in the back of my mind.
The conditions were hard going on this event. I remember doing the Jordan Rally at 45 degrees and thinking that was tough, but this was much harder than that. The good thing about the Satria is that you really have to work at it to get the best out of it, which is fantastic, but maybe not quite so fantastic when it’s so hot and humid in the car!
As you progressed through the stage, you could feel the heat soaking into you, but there was nothing to do. The iced towels at the end of each stage have never felt so good! There’s definitely more to come from me and the PROTON, but I’m massively encouraged at the start we’ve made in Malaysia. Okay, the result isn’t what we wanted, but I’m rallying again and soon we’ll be winning again.
One more thing, I want to say a big thank you to Chris and the guys at MEM for the work they did, the car was awesome, and to everybody at PROTON. There was a real buzz about the factory in Malaysia and it’s going to be a special feeling for us all when we turn this potential into rally wins.”
Source: Team Release