Proton team set for biggest ever year in 2011

Proton will embark on its biggest rally programme ever next season, with two-time Junior world champion P-G Andersson joining the team for the Monte Carlo Rally.

As expected, Proton will contest both the Intercontinental Rally Challenge and the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship – with an announcement expected from Malaysia today. As usual, British firm MEM will develop and run the Satria Neo S2000s.

Andersson’s deal is reckoned to be just for the Monte, but both sides are keen to further the agreement if the IRC opening round is a success. Proton regulars from last season Chris Atkinson and Alister McRae remain with the team, undertaking the full APRC series and a selection of IRC rounds. Atkinson starts with Andersson in Valence.

Andersson said: “It’s great to be joining the Proton team for Monte, I can’t wait to get the testing started. It’s been a couple of years since I was on this rally the last time, but I have always made good stage times there and it’s a rally I like. Of course, the conditions can make it tough, but if you have to gamble with the tyre choice then you can always make some big gains. Drivers tend to like grip from the car, so a dry Monte would be nice, but if we have a lot of snow it’s always fantastic to drive in these conditions.

“For now, we are with Proton for Monte, but we will be talking straight after the rally to see what is possible for the future. I’m very happy to join a team which is looking forward to a good future in the sport.”

Proton managing director Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir said: “We are extremely proud to be able to reveal our plans for the 2011 rally programme. This development represents yet more exciting news from Proton, which celebrates its 25th birthday this year. It’s incredible to think how far we have come for such a relatively young company. But this is just the beginning for Proton.

“Thanks to the close alliance with MEM in the UK, the rally team will go from strength to strength, embracing the cutting-edge technology which runs through the Proton road car range. Competing at such a high level of rallying across the globe offers Proton the perfect opportunity to showcase its range of road cars. And all of those cars sold to our valued customers contain a little piece of our rallying DNA; the same spirit of performance, expertise and reliability which will undoubtedly carry the Satria Neo S2000 to the greatest of heights next season.”

Source: Giles Wade –