They’re not a football team, so no open top bus parade around the city, but Proton proudly paraded their multiple trophies gained from this season’s FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC). The six-leg championship ended in China earlier this month, where Alister McRae won the rally to clinch the Driver’s title from teammate Chris Atkinson.
That title was one of eight titles won by Proton in this season’s APRC – a clean sweep underlining total domination. The eight titles are the Overall FIA APRC Manufacturer’s title, FIA APRC Driver’s title, FIA APRC Teams Trophy, FIA Asia Cup Driver’s title and the FIA Pacific Cup Driver’s title. Those were won by the Satria Neo S2000s.
Proton’s Group N 1600cc 2WD Satria Neos won the Manufacturer’s title in the FIA APRC Rally Cup (2WD category), the FIA APRC Rally Cup Driver’s title and the FIA APRC Junior Cup Driver’s title. Karamjit SIngh, driving the Cusco prepared Neo, won all five events he entered in 2011.
By the way, this is Proton’s first APRC win after seven years, their previous three wins coming in 2001, 2002 and 2004. Proton returned for a full season last year, finishing second in the Manufacturer’s standings.
At this afternoon’s event, Proton MD Datuk Seri Syed Zainal Abidin reminded all that while they’re happy with the trophy haul, their main agenda in joining motorsports is marketing and Proton’s in it to “race on Sunday and sell on Monday.” Proton says that events like the APRC provide the brand with enormous exposure, reaching out to an estimated audience of over 390 million viewers worldwide in 129 countries. “It will be a crime not to exploit the success of the Satria Neo in APRC,” Syed Zainal added.
The boss also hinted at a special edition (a special edition, not Special Edition) Satria Neo to commemorate the APRC victory. “Expect some exciting derivative of Neo, perhaps some special edition,” he said, adding later that a “yellow Neo” with “some of the DNA of the S2000″ could be coming out in Q1, 2012.
Could it be a Satria Neo R3 in the rally car’s signature yellow with matching interior accents? Or can we expect an even more powerful Neo with more serious kit? No harm in listing down your wish list, someone might be reading!