PROTON flies in Queensland
Aug 05, 2010
International Rally of Queensland: day two report
August 1, 2010
PROTON R3 Rally Team driver Chris Atkinson delivered a perfect performance to dominate the second day of the International Rally of Queensland, the fourth round of this year’s Asia Pacific Rally Championship.
Atkinson, a native Gold Coaster, was faster than any of his APRC competitors in today’s stages, to win the day by 22 seconds, his first major success at the wheel of the PROTON. Atkinson’s team-mate Alister McRae had also started the day in electrifying form down under, but just as the Scot had closed to gap between himself and the leader, he clipped a rock which was right on the line and damaged the Satria’s oil sump.
Over the course of the two days, the PROTON Satria Neo S2000 was fastest on an incredible 15 of the 18 forest stages inland from the base at Marcoola Beach. Unfortunately an over-exuberant entry into a deeper-than-expected river crossing caused Atkinson’s Satria to ingest water. Prior to that, Atkinson had been leading the event by close to a minute, with McRae closing rapidly on second position. For much of day one, a dominant PROTON one-two result was on the cards.
Instead, Atkinson takes away valuable APRC points for his day two win and the PROTON R3 Rally Team has, once again, demonstrated the ultimate pace of Malaysia’s favourite and fastest rally car: the sensational Satria Neo S2000.
The event ended in Imbil at 1530 local time, following today’s eight stages.
Chris Mellors (team principal) said:
“Setting fastest time on 15 from 18 stages is the perfect demonstration of where we are at with the Satria Neo S2000; the car dominated this round of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship. We came here aiming to be faster than the opposition and we’ve done just that, comprehensively. Circumstances have not gone our way again, though. The river crossing yesterday was really unfortunate for Chris and then Alister finding a rock on the line today is equally frustrating. But, what’s staring us in the face right now is the outright pace and ability of the PROTON. In some difficult conditions, we’ve had the fastest car. The engine has proved itself to be absolutely faultless, very strong and the car’s handling has been great. Alister and Chris have demonstrated what they can do behind the wheel, but the whole thing hasn’t quite come together in Australia. Chris winning today, collecting APRC points and the fastest stage times is all great news for everybody involved with the PROTON R3 Rally Team, but you can’t help think how close we came to the perfect one-two here in Queensland. All that does, however, is redouble our determination for the next event. We know we’ve got the winning car on our hands and now we can’t wait for the next opportunity to get out and do just that.”
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