Proton S-WRC Win in Sweden & McRae Back in WRC

Proton enjoyed its first ever victory in the 2012 FIA Super World Rally Championship (S-WRC) – when Per Gunnar Andersson claimed the win, with a dominant drive in the Satria Neo S2000, finishing more than three minutes clear of his nearest rival in Rally Sweden. Andersson finished the 24 special stages three minutes 35 seconds ahead of Ford’s Craig Breen and four minutes 49 seconds in front of Skoda’s Pontus Tideman. Andersson placed the Proton 12th overall – even ahead of some of the main World Rally Championship (WRC) competitors en route to clinching his third successive win at his Swedish home event. Andersson and co-driver Emil Axelsson led the S-WRC class from start to finish, making the most of local knowledge, experience and a competitive package to steer the Satria Neo S2000 to victory in the snowy, icy and cold conditions of the Swedish countryside. "What a phenomenal weekend it has been and a well deserved victory for PROTON after only two rounds of the S-WRC. We knew that we had a very competitive car at the very start of the season in Monte Carlo and we have proven just that in Sweden. The Satria Neo S2000 was dominant throughout the weekend," said Andersson, who almost won in Monte Carlo, had it not been for a fire. Victory in Sweden promotes Proton to officially joining not only the ranks of rally’s elite, but is its first in the European hemisphere since the Satria Neo S2000 made its competition debut in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) in 2009. Proton’s best finish up until now had been second place at the 2009 IRC Rally of Scotland, although the Satria Neo S2000 did go on to dominate and win the 2011 Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) driver’s and manufacturer’s titles, with Alister McRae – who also returned to world rallying in Sweden. The former factory Mitsubishi, Hyundai and Subaru driver finished seventh in the Super 2000 World Rally Championship standings in Karlstad, having visited two snowbanks along the way. Alister has not been seen in WRC since Rally New Zealand 2007, and said: "It was great to be back. I’ve been competing in the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship recently, which is very, very good, but this is the world championship - this is where everything is at." It's not clear whether McRae will rally again for Proton this year, but we really hope so and wish the team and Mr Andersson all the best! Well done!

Proton is due to compete in another three of the seven S-WRC rounds in 2012. Stay tuned for news...


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