The PROTON Motorsports team collected more valuable points in the pursuit of back-to-back FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship titles with a podium finish on the International Rally of Queensland, which finished this evening (Sunday).
The third round of the 2012 APRC was based out of Caloundra on Australia’s Sunshine Coast, running through the forest tracks around the inland town of Imbil.
PROTON’s defending APRC champion Alister McRae finished the event in a credible second place with his fellow Satria-Neo S2000 driver P-G Andersson just missing out on the final podium place in fourth. Andersson, who was making his debut on this event, had dropped time on the opening day, but the Swede battled back through the field on today’s second and final day.
The sunshine which greeted the APRC champions at the finish this afternoon was in stark contrast to the torrential rain which had drenched the Queensland roads in the lead up to what is Australia’s biggest rally of the season. But, once the event started, the rain stopped. Yesterday’s stages were drying out, but still slippery in places, while today the roads were all fast and dry.
Reigning champion McRae’s hopes of challenging for his first APRC win of the year were stymied by minor issues on the opening day, but the Scot remained upbeat with valuable runner-up points at the finish.
PROTON Motorsports’ focus now switches back to the FIA Super 2000 World Rally Championship and next month’s Rally New Zealand. Andersson has dominated the early running in the world series, ending his last event with a three-minute winning margin in his Satria-Neo S2000.
The Auckland-based Rally New Zealand starts on June 21.