Rally of Scotland review
Oct 10, 2011
The PROTON Motorsports team once again demonstrated the development and potential of the Satria Neo S2000 on this weekend’s Rally of Scotland, but suffered misfortune on the penultimate round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge while setting times near the top of the table.
The Perth-based event was Swede P-G Andersson’s first outing in a PROTON on gravel and the two-time Junior World Rally Champion was immediately on the pace, setting second fastest time and running third overall after two exceptionally tricky runs through the Carron Valley stage on Friday night.
Scottish rally hero Alister McRae was also in the top 10 times on that second stage, but the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship leader’s determined run in front of fervent local support came to an end in SS5, when a stone damaged the sump on the Satria Neo S2000. When the oil light came on, McRae knew his event was run and his chances of repeating his Rally of Scotland second place of two years ago were dashed.
Andersson maintained that pace into Saturday, where he was never out of the top six times on what was one of the most competitive IRC rounds of the season. Arriving in Perth, after the morning’s action, Andersson was fourth, just 3.9 seconds away from a podium place and only just over 30 seconds off the lead. When he went to start the car to move into the control, the car had no electrical power due to a battery problem.
On stage times, Andersson remained an exceptional fourth at the end of Saturday. Unfortunately, he had incurred road penalties due to the battery problem and was classified further down the field. Unperturbed, he was back in the groove as the event moved west for the stages closer to Stirling today (Sunday), but he came unstuck when a driveshaft broke on SS11 and damaged the crank sensor. The engine stopped immediately and Andersson’s stunning run was over.
The PROTON Motorsports team now turns its attentions to the China Rally Longyou, the final round of the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (November 4-6), where the Malaysian manufacturer will be looking to win an unprecedented five championship titles.
Alister McRae said:
“It was great to be back in Scotland and competing again at home. Unfortunately, despite a really promising start, this wasn’t to be our event. The stages were really slippery, conditions were very tough, but we were inside the top 10 and the car was running well. Just in the Errochty stage we went through a corner and we felt an impact on the bottom of the car, it didn’t feel like anything too dramatic, but then the oil light came on and we switched the car off straight away. We’d caught a stone in just the wrong place and it had cracked the sump and drained the oil. This was really bad luck. It was hard to take, but that was Scotland finished for us. Now though, we look ahead to the final round of the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship. I’m leading the championship and my team-mate Chris Atkinson is second, the fight is between the two of us and I can’t wait to get started in China.”
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