How was your long Malaysia Day weekend? Proton R3 Motorsports had a good one. Their Satria Neo participated in three events – Super 2000 World Rally Championship (SWRC) in Great Britain, Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) in Japan and Malaysian Super Series (MSS) at Sepang – and ended up on all three podiums.
In Rally GB, Tom Cave completed an impressive SWRC debut for Proton by finishing second ahead of Yazeed Al-Rajhi third after the Saudi driver was handed a five-minute time penalty for two speeding offences on Saturday. Craig Breen, driving a Ford Fiesta S2000, won the rally, putting himself into joint second place in the title chase, eight points behind championship leader PG Andersson.
Proton’s PG finished sixth in Cardiff after he damaged his Neo’s power steering running over a log on stage 17 following his restart under Rally 2 rules on Saturday. The comeback included two stage wins. Young Welshman Cave did well in what is only his second outing this year for Proton – he won the Rally of Thailand on his Proton debut in July.
Oceans away in Hokkaido, where the Japanese round of the APRC happened over the weekend, the Proton R3 Cusco Rally Team finished first, second and third in the 2WD category.
Malaysian Karamjit Singh continued his dominance in the 2WD category by winning it outright despite a puncture which lost him almost one and a half minutes. Pushing hard in his Satria Neo Group N rally car, Karamjit clawed his way back to take victory and extend his 2WD Championship lead.
The Flying Sikh’s teammate Akira Bamba clinched his second consecutive APRC Junior Championship title after finishing first in the APRC Junior Category and second in 2WD after his closest rival Michael Young from New Zealand crashed out in Leg 1. Malaysian junior driver Kenneth Koh rounded off the weekend by finishing second in the Junior category and third in 2WD.
Their senior counterparts driving the Satria Neo S2000 weren’t so successful – both Alister McRae and Juha Salo retired in Japan.
Closer to home, the Proton R3 Race Team pair of Syafiq Ali and James Veerapen won the Malaysian Super Series (MSS) at Sepang with one round to spare. It was a roller coaster race that included off track excursions, but the team made a strong comeback to finish in fourth, and clinch the title with an unassailable 70-point lead.