Rallye de Nouvelle Caledonie review
Apr 30, 2012
The PROTON Motorsports team endured a tough second round of the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship in New Caledonia this weekend, leading the event, but ultimately having to be content with a second day win.
The defending APRC champions made a good start, with PROTON’s P-G Andersson leading the event after the first loop of stages. His hopes of taking overall victory were hit, however, when the engine in his Satria-Neo S2000 took in water on the first stage on Saturday morning. The Malaysian powerplant showed great strength to get through the day, but the Swede was ruled out this morning when the engine trouble worsened.
Alister McRae’s hopes of winning a rally he led last season went out of the window when he suffered a puncture on the second stage. The Scot continued to the end of the stage in an effort to contain the time lost through the deflation, but the car suffered impact damage to the front-left suspension from the rough roads and he was forced out on SS2.
Not permitted to restart on Saturday, McRae did return for the final day of the rally today (under superally re-entry regulations), where he set top-three times on all but one test, winning three of the Pacific island stages.
PROTON’s fortunes on this rally were mirrored by the weather, starting brightly before they began to deteriorate through the weekend. And this week’s Rallye de Nouvelle Caledonie was, undoubtedly, one of the toughest APRC rounds for a long time. The tropical storms which hit the roads around Noumea on Saturday delivered vast quantities of rain, flooding the many river crossings which litter the route. The APRC entry was decimated by some of the most demanding rallying in recent memory.
The series now moves to Australia for round three, the International Rally of Queensland (May 25-27).
Alister McRae said:
“The positive from this rally is that we have come away with points for winning the final day. We pushed hard today and it was good to see the fastest stage times coming our way. Ultimately, though this was a disappointing event. Just when we were settling in, we caught a rock and punctured a tyre. We decided to drive on the tyre, but this damaged the suspension and we had to pull over.”
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