Alister McRae upbeat following frustration in Indonesia
Oct 08, 2009
Former works rally driver Alister McRae was upbeat following what could best be described as a frustrating weekend on Rally Indonesia, the penultimate round of the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship. The Scot, now living in Australia was driving the official Proton Satria Neo Super2000 rally car but problems meant that despite showing excellent speed, he was unable to complete the event.
This was only the Satira’s second gravel rally and the first on rough terrain. It was certainly the first in the conditions the crews faced in Indonesia, with temperatures well into the 40s.
The event began well for Alister but quickly became problematic. The car hit a rock in the road on the first day of competition and damaged the engine’s sump, meaning the car lost all its engine oil. The crew managed to limp to the end of the stage but clearly, they were going no further for the rest of day one.
With the damaged sump repaired and the team establishing that no further damage had been caused to the engine, Alister restarted the event on the second day. Again, things were going well to begin with but halfway through the second stage, the car’s power steering failed and Alister was forced to drive 15 Km with no assistance.
He managed to carry out running repairs at the end of the stage to get through the next timed test and back to the Proton team at service, where the problem was repaired. However, on the final loop of stages, the steering failed again and lost all fluid. With two more stages still to run, the team took the decision to retire the car rather than risk further damage.
Commenting on the weekend, Alister said: “Obviously it’s frustrating to end a rally like this, especially when we looked like we were capable of a good result. But you have to remember that the car is very young and at an early stage of its development and this was a really rough event – far rougher than previous years, according to the other competitors.
There are a lot of positives to take from this weekend though. The pace was good on an event that perhaps didn’t suit S2000 cars particularly well. We were not far off Cody [Crocker’s] times when we were running well, so that is very encouraging. I believe with what we’ve learned this weekend, and with some time to react then there is no reason why the Proton Satria can’t be a winner.”
Alister is hoping that he will have another chance to show what he and the Proton are capable of on the final round of the series, Rally China in mid-November.
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