Proton wins in Finland and Atkinson crashes.

APRC drivers had mixed results at Rally Finland. While PROTON Motorsports celebrated a double podium, Chris Atkinson crashed out on Stage 8 after a miss-heard pace note.

The Australian and co-driver Stefan Prevot were very lucky not to have a massive crash as this in-car camera footage shows.

Former APRC drivers New Zealander Hayden Paddon retired on Day 1 with engine failure when leading the S2000 catergory, while Australian Brendan Reeves was third in the FIA Academy.

Following is the Proton Press Release.

PROTON Motorsports celebrated a double podium on the latest round of the FIA Super 2000 World Rally Championship – Rally Finland – which ended in Jyvaskyla this evening.

After three days of flat-out racing through the Finnish countryside P-G Andersson (Sweden) guided his Satria –Neo S2000 to a three-minute victory, with his team-mate Juha Salo (Finland) third, having dropped time with a puncture earlier today.

The stages in Finland are renowned as the fastest in the World Rally Championship and success in Jyvaskyla is seen as vitally important in the demonstration of a car’s pace; driver’s ability and team’s competence and competitiveness.

And this week, reigning FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Champions PROTON Motorsports showed all three of those attributes to collect their first win on the event where everybody wants to be first.

Arriving in Finland on the back of a Malaysian Rally win, PROTON Motorsports was in confident mood that the latest specification of Satria-Neo S2000 would be quick enough to face-down the fastest machinery on offer from Ford and Skoda. And it did.

After winning SWRC on Rally Sweden in February, Andersson completed PROTON Motorsports’ dominance of the Nordic rounds of the series with victory in Jyvaskyla tonight. The two-time FIA Junior World Rally Champion’s second victory of the season is enough to move him back into the lead of the Super 2000 World Rally Championship.

Both Andersson and Salo starred in a rally which is watched by one in 10 of the Finnish population. And ahead of thousands of Swedish and Finnish, the PROTON pair delivered a perfect result.

Quotes: P-G Andersson said: “This is a fantastic result. We had a good fight today with Craig Breen and I have to pay tribute to what Craig has done. He might not have finished, but he drove a great rally in extremely difficult conditions. But for PROTON and for me, this was the result we needed. I knew that I had to come here and take the win, if I didn’t do that they it would make the championship extremely difficult. The car felt very, very good on these roads. We could see in Malaysia [on the APRC round] that the changes the team has made to the car worked on the tight and twisty stages and now we know they really work on the fast roads as well! It’s a great feeling to win any rally, but to come to Finland and win is always going to be very special.”

Juha Salo said: “The puncture was really frustrating this morning. But I have to say, driving this car has been fanstastic. After so long driving a Group N-style of car, it has taken me some time to adapt my way of driving to get used to the Satria, but I have really enjoyed the event. We had no problems during the rally and we were able to set good times. I know that, with more time in the car, we would be able to get faster and faster. The podium is a very good result for PROTON. My aim when I came to this event was to do a good job for the team and third place is good for them and for me.”

Chris Mellors (MEM team principal) said: “We came here for a race and we certainly got one! This has been a real classic Rally Finland. It’s incredible event – one of the most iconic rallies in the world – and to take the win here is a really significant achievement for PROTON Motorsports. I’m delighted for P-G and for Juha, they have both driven very well to bring us first and third. We were quietly confident when we came here that this was possible, but it’s always nice to deliver the right result for us. And obviously, it’s good news for the championship and for P-G: he’s back at the top of the table.”

Event data

Round: 5/8, FIA Super 2000 World Rally Championship

Based: Jyvaskyla, Finland

Stages: 18 Surface: gravel Liaison distance: 1,322.17km

Competitive distance: 303.52km

Total distance: 1,625.69km

Conditions: sunshine, 21 degrees

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