Proton to concentrate on APRC after withdrawing entry from WRC Rally Sweden.

PROTON Motorsports has withdrawn its entry for P-G Andersson on next month’s Rally Sweden.

The Malaysian team had intended to start its 2013 season in the snows of Scandinavia, aiming for a repeat of the dominant class win achieved by P-G Andersson on Rally Sweden 2012. Unfortunately the delayed supply of vital parts for the Satria Neo S2000 has made it impossible for the team to start the Karlstad event – which begins on Thursday February 7.

The team will now switch its attentions to pre-season testing for the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, which starts with the Rally of Whangarei in New Zealand on May 17. This season PROTON Motorsports is committed to returning the Malaysian firm’s name to the top of the APRC standings with the latest specification of Satria Neo S2000.

The 2013 FIA APRC:

– Rally of Whangarei (May 17-19)

– Rallye de Nouvelle Caledonie (June 14-16)

– International Rally of Queensland (July 12-14)

– Malaysian Rally (August 24-26)

– Rally Hokkaido (September 27-29)

– China Rally (November 2-4)

MEM team principal Chris Mellors said: “Two years ago PROTON Motorsports dominated the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, winning the drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles. Last year we finished second. This year, we intend to be first again.

The Asia-Pacific campaign is at the forefront of what we’re doing in 2013. P-G [Andersson] and Emil [Axelsson, co-driver] dominated the SWRC round in Sweden last season and it would have been nice to repeat that result next month.

This event was never included in the original programme for us; we entered for P-G and his Swedish fans. Unfortunately, some vital parts haven’t arrived in in time and without those we can’t start the rally. Obviously, P-G’s disappointed, but so are we all: competing at the highest level with a Scandinavian in Scandinavia in the snow in a Satria would have been a great start to the season. But, like I said, the focus is APRC this season and we’re very excited about starting testing for New Zealand very soon.”

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