profile

New Caladonia Rally Preview
Apr 24, 2012

PROTON drivers P-G Andersson (Sweden) and Alister McRae (Great Britain) were on great form on last month’s North Island opener, with Andersson setting comfortably the most fastest stage times and only missing out on the win after being forced to drive on a puncture for more than 20 kilometres. The team’s data shows Andersson lost one and a half minutes with that problem, yet he only missed out on the win by 30 seconds. Such speed has inspired confidence that PROTON can return to New Caledonia and repeat its victorious double podium of last season.
With this being Andersson’s first full year in the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, the two-time Junior World Rally Champion has not competed on many of the rallies on the schedule – and this will be his first time tackling the Pacific island event.

Based in Noumea on Grande Terre, the largest island in New Caledonia, the rally moves through the island’s beautiful lush vegetation and farming plains. One of the big features of this event is the fickle nature of the weather, particularly at this time of the year. Running in the southern hemisphere’s autumn, temperatures are dropping to around 20 degrees, but it’s the rain which often catches out the fastest rally drivers in the Asia-Pacific region. Grande Terre is a long and narrow island divided by a range of mountains running down the centre (two peaks in which are higher than 1,600 metres) and this is enough to cause the kind of micro-climatic downpours which regularly wreak havoc with tyre choice.

While Andersson might not have competed on this rally before, his team-mate McRae led the event last season on his way to winning the 2011 FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship. The Scot will have plenty of advice for the Swede in the run up to round two.

And for those of you, like P-G, who are still not completely certain where the PROTON Motorsports Satria-Neo S2000s will be running next week, think around 1,500 kilometres east of Queensland and a little bit further north from the northernmost-tip of New Zealand. And that’s Noumea, home to around 100,000 of the native 250,000 New Caledonians.

P-G and Alister will be looking to give all quarter of a million plenty to cheer as PROTON rolls into the capital city for the island’s biggest motorsport event of the year. The Malaysian manufacturer is hunting for a second win in as many years and a more fitting return than the opening round.

Alister McRae said:
“We led this rally last season and it’s definitely one that I enjoy. In places the roads are really wide and fast, quite similar to the roads in Argentina, but then there are some other parts of the route which are really twisty and tight. The road surface changes quite a lot as well, with the clay-based roads becoming extremely slippery when it rains. And it does seem to rain quite a lot. I’ve been checking the weather over there quite a bit recently and it seems like there’s been a fair bit of rain in the run-up to the event. Winning the championship last year means I am first on the road on all the rounds this year and that was quite a disadvantage on the first round in New Zealand, but I don’t think it will be so much in New Caledonia. The rain is likely to have washed away much of the loose gravel from the surface before we get there and it’s possible running at the front might even give us a small advantage.”

 • 

latest news
Alister McRae to drive in the Rally Legends in San Marino
Alister Mcrae on the grid for Extreme Rallycross Championship
Event-winning Subaru to return for 2016 Race to the Sky
McRae wins Repco Race to the Sky in Possum’s Subaru
McRae takes Race to the Sky
McRae to pilot famous Vantage Subaru at Repco Race to the Sky
McRae back for 2015 Otago Classic Rally
Alister McRae returning from Australia for the McRae Rally Challenge at Knockhill
Alister to race in the Boucles Du Bastogne 2015
ALISTER MCRAE TO DRIVE OFFICIAL TOYOTA HILUX AT GOODWOOD FESTIVAL OF SPEED
Alister McRae wins class on Australasian Safari – on two wheels
Alister McRae announces entry for Alpine Rally
China Rally Longyou review 2012
China Rally Longyou preview 2012
Hokkaido Rally 2012 preview
Malaysian Rally 2012 review
Malaysian Rally 2012 preview
Rally New Zealand preview
International Rally of Queensland review
International Rally of Queensland preview
Rallye de Nouvelle Caledonie review
New Caladonia Rally Preview
International Rally of Whangarei review
Brother International Rally of Whangarei preview
Frustrating Rally Sweden
Alister to compete in the APRC and Super 2000 World Rally Championship in 2012
Team Prodakar F1 Racing Energy Drink announces the comeback of Alister Mcrae for the Dakar
China Rally Longyou review
China Rally Longyou preview
Rally of Scotland review
Rally of Scotland preview
Rally Hokkaido review
Rally Hokkaido preview
Teaching youths safe driving habits
Inaugrual Scottish Motorsport Festival revs into action next month
Alister hits the podium again!
International Rally of Whangarei preview
DOMINANT PROTON ONE-TWO IN FIA ASIA-PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIP
Rally de Nouvelle Caledonie preview
International Rally of Queensland review
International Rally of Queensland preview
McRae confident this time around
PROTON TAKES DOMINANT WIN AT HOME
Q & A with Alister McRae
PROTON drivers delighted with Satria Neo S2000 upgrades
Alister Wins in China!
RACMSA Rally of Scotland Review
STAR-STUDDED ENTRY LIST TAKING SHAPE FOR THIS MONTH'S RALLY OF SCOTLAND
PROTON flies in Queensland
Alister McRae starts this week’s International Rally of Queensland
An inspired 2nd Place for Alister in the Rally of Whangarei
Alister ready take on the Kiwis
The Ypres Rally
PROTON to start IRC campaign on Geko Ypres Rally
Japan Rally Report
Facebook Gallery of Alister in Japan
Rally Hokkaido preview
Malaysia
Malaysian Rally review
McRae leads Malaysian Rally at end of Day 1
Atkinson joins McRae at Proton
Alister and Proton Completes Shakedown For Rally Indonesia
Alister McRae to drive Proton S2000 in 2010 IRC and APRC
Alisters Dakar race car features in the latest Car Magazine
Alister McRae takes excellent podium finish on home event
McRae and Proton get off to a great start in Scotland
Busy two weeks for Alister McRae
Alister McRae upbeat following frustration in Indonesia
Rally Indonesia Update
Alister McRae back in manufacturer seat for Rally Indonesia
Podium Finish For Alister at The Targa West
Targa West Update
Alister is confirmed for Rallyday 09 at Castle Combe
Alister to race in the 2009 Targa West Rally
Otago Rally - Blown engine spoils the party...
McRae hot favourite for Otago Rally
The world's fastest driving instructor
Alister Finishes The Dakar
Interview with Alister on autosport.com
Alister heads to Argentina for the Dakar 2009 with the McRae Enduro Team
Alister takes the 2WD honours at the McRae Stages 2008
The World Champions turn out for Colin - McRae Stages Rally 2008
Alister McRae dominates Targa West
Alister set for rallying ‘at home’ on Targa West
The New McRae Enduro at The Rally Show - Chatsworth
Four McRae Enduro Team led by Dakar expert Chris Leyds
Rally of Lithgow 3rd May 2003
Lithgow gets McRae entry
Mazda wins Targa Tasmania – 2WD Showroom
Mazda3 MPS takes 4WD Scalps at Targa
Mazda Tightens Grip on Targa Title
Mazda’s Targa Team Moves up the Leaderboard
Mazda’s Targa Attack off to a Flying Start
Class 1-2 for Mazda in Targa Prologue
Mazda Unveils Targa Tassie Devils
Mazda’s Star Co-drivers Complete Targa Tussle
McRae and Mazda Combine for Targa Attack
Alister launches Proflex Australasia
McRae legacy continues at The Race of Champions
STATEMENT ISSUED ON BEHALF OF COLIN McRAE’S FAMILY
Jimmy McRae wins Classic Class of MSA British Historic Rally Championship
Dream start ends in disappointment for Alister McRae in New Zealand
Alister third in group N after day one in New Zealand
Extra support boosts Alister McRae’s Rally New Zealand challenge
Alister set to debut new McRae Enduro rally car as Baja GB course car
Alister McRae returns to WRC on Rally New Zealand
Jimmy McRae is the Master
Mcrae Enduro – All New Cross-Country Rally Car
Promising start for Alister in New Zealand
Alister McRae heads south for New Zealand Rally Championship
The Scottish Motorsport Show 2007
Alister McRae launches brand-new WAP site
Encouraging debut for Alister McRae in Toyota Super 2000
Sting in the tail after first stage win for Alister McRae
Encouraging first day for Alister McRae on Wales Rally GB
Alister ready to debut Toyota Super 2000 after successful test
Jimmy McRae wins RAC for Stobart
RED and Toyota South Africa choose Alister McRae as development driver
Alister McRae wins ‘family’ rally
Jimmy McRae Back to New Zealand
One-round rest from Chinese Championship for Alister
Steep learning curve for Jimmy McRae
Hard charging then a soft head at Lurgan Park
A walk in the park for Alister and Jimmy McRae?
Determined drive nets team points in China
Frustrating start in China
New car but hopefully same result in China
Alister wins Zulu Rally
Alister leads Zulu Rally
Alister ready for new challenge
Disappointing Pirelli for Alister
Alister ready for action
Battle of the Champions
Alister takes on Irish Mk11 Escorts
In the company of rallyings foremost family
Alister leads Chinese Rally Championship
Alister joins British challenge in China
Alister enters South Africa's bid for the WRC
Father and son perform at Autosport International
Colin & Alister drive in tribute to Richard Burns
Colin & Alister return to Castle Combe Rally Day
Great disappointment for Alister
Alister given Racing Opportunity
Battle of the Mk 2's
Alister dominates Buggy race
McRae's support Charity Stages
Alister returns to Spanish Rallysprint series
Alister works in Corporate Market
Mechanical failure ends Alister's PWRC Bid
Alister dominates PWRC
Alister leads the way
McRae on course to become world champion
Car improvements boost McRae's title bid
Alister sets up World Championship title challenge
Alister challenges for PWRC lead in Corsica
Alister takes Group N Victory
Positive Result for McRae in Germany
McRae’s asphalt challenge
Q+A - Alister McRae

Search