Proton will enter next year’s Super 2000 World Rally Championship, starting its programme with P-G Andersson and Giandomenico Basso driving on the Monte Carlo Rally.
In addition to its maiden SWRC entry, the Malaysian firm has also confirmed it will defend its multiple Asia-Pacific Rally Championship titles with Andersson and APRC champion driver Alister McRae. The British driver is also expected to play a part in Proton’s SWRC assault.
McRae, who is preparing for next year’s Dakar, admitted he was delighted to be staying with the British-based Proton Motorsports team.
“The car really came on very well last year,” said McRae. “There was a gap between a couple of the APRC rounds when I was out of the car and when I went back to it, it was obvious how hard the team had been working. There’s more development to come from the car, but it’s got great potential.
“Winning the APRC title was a big thing for me and the chance to go back and defend the championship is great news. I’m looking forward to being back in the car and competing at a very high level again.”
After Monte Carlo, Proton will also tackle Sweden, New Zealand, Finland, Spain, France and Britain.
Proton team principal Chris Mellors said he was looking forward to another busy season with the Satria Neo S2000s.
“Two cars in SWRC and APRC is a very good programme for 2012,” said Mellors. “We enjoyed a lot of success in APRC last year and we learned a great deal to take forward into this year. It’s going to be an exciting time for the team.”
Mellors added that he hoped to see Proton represented in the IRC again.
“Proton is moving in a different direction for next season,” he said, “which means we won’t be in the IRC. We are working on some possible options which would mean private cars in that championship. I have to thank Eurosport and IRC for a great series: we had some tremendous competition there.”