It wasn’t an easy Rally New Zealand for Proton, but Swedish driver PG Andersson still managed to chalk up his second successive podium finish in the Super 2000 World Rally Championship (SWRC).
Home boy Hayden Paddon won the SWRC class in a Skoda Fabia S2000 despite car problems and a mistake, thanks to a big 36 minute lead he took into Sunday’s final seven stages. Maciej Oleksowicz made it two podiums in a row in his Ford Fiesta.
The Swede started brightly on the first special stage of Leg 1 leading the S2000 class and posting eighth fastest time overall, just 1.4 seconds behind overall rally leader Petter Solberg in the WRC class. The Satria Neo was again the fastest S2000 car on the third and final day of the rally, which consisted of 22 special stages and a competitive distance of 413.94 km.
Alister McRae didn’t have a good weekend in the other Proton. Despite enjoying competitive times, pacing himself to as high as fourth in the SWRC class and 12th overall, the Scot was forced to bow out of the rally early due to a failed clutch release bearing. Stage 19 was his last.
Andersson, SWRC winner at his home rally in Sweden, is currently joint second in the FIA SWRC Drivers’ Standings with 43 points, while McRae is in eighth with just six. Proton elected not to compete in the Rally of Portugal, the third round of the SWRC, due to commitments in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC). Rally NZ winner Paddon is leading the chart with 62 points.