The Prime Minister of Malaysia Datuk Seri Datuk Najib Tun Razak (pix) officiated the Proton Motorsports S2000 rally team to kickoff the 2012 season as he handed over the ‘Jalur Gemilang’ to the Chairman of Proton Holdings, Datuk Sri Nadzmi Mohd Salleh during his meeting with Selangor industrialists yesterday.
Proton are to compete in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) as well as the Super World Rally Championship (S-WRC).
Among the VIPs at the launching were former Prime Minister and patron to Proton, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, Minister of Youth and Sports, Datuk Sri Shabeery Cheek and Managing Director of Proton, Datuk Sri Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohd Tahir.
Proton Rally team will compete five out of seven races for the Super World Rally Championship (S-WRC) and the full six rounds of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC).
The first outing for the rally team will be the Super World Rally Championship in Monte Carlo which will be held on Jan 20 to Jan 21st. The FIA Super 2000 World Rally Championship or S-WRC is a companion rally series to the World Rally Championship, and is driven on the same stages.
S-WRC is limited to production-based cars homologated under the Super 2000 rules. The series began in 2010 and splits the production World Rally Championship (P-WRC), which was previously open to both Super 2000 and Group N4 cars, into two separate competitions, both of which get their own FIA titles.
For Proton S-WRC challenge in Monte Carlo, the SWRC team consists of former Junior world rally champion Per Gunnar Andersson and co-driver Emil Axelsson, former European rally champion Giandomenico Basso and co-driver Mitia Dotta.
Speaking on skype with some of the members of the Malaysian media at Proton on Friday, PG Andersson says he is happy that we have done a lot of development to the engine and it will be good for the team to start the season in a winning car.
He also said his plans is to take Proton’s first victory in SWRC in his home-ground of Sweden and promises to bring home the medal in his home country.
PG Andersson took the gold medal and became the first crew to win the Junior Rally Championship title for the second time in 2007. He won the first Junior World Rally Championship and Swedish Super 1600 title in 2004.