The Proton R3 Malaysia Rally Team seem to be going from strength to strength, as they recently achieved a commendable result at the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, San Remo round in Italy. Frenchman Gilles Panizzi, who drove the Satria Neo S2000, finished 18th in the S2000 category and 20th overall, within massive a field of 101 competitors.

Proton had no intention of entering the San Remo Rally and only participated due to the cancelation of the Indonesian Rally. Even then, their entry was purely for development purposes.

“Overall, Proton’s outing in San Remo has been great. For an event that we did not plan to compete in much earlier and only decided on after the cancellation of the Rally of Indonesia, the result in San Remo and especially on tarmac was commendable. More importantly, it enabled the team to make tremendous gains in terms of further developing the Satria Neo S2000 given Panizzi’s vast experience and the pivotal role he previously played in helping to develop the Peugeot Super S2000 rally machine,” said Proton Group Managing Director Dato’ Syed Zainal Abidin.

The big hitters such as Peugeot, Skoda, Fiat, Ford and Honda occupied the top spots. The first ten of the 20 spots were all Peugeot Super S2000s, with Italian Paolo Andrerucci being crowned the winner of the event in the Peugeot 207 Super S2000. The four others were Skoda Fabia Super S2000, three in the Abarth Grand Punto S2000, one in a Ford Fiesta Super S2000 and another in a Honda Type R.

Unfortunately for Panizzi’s teammate, Niall McShea, his rally came to an abrupt end as his power steering pump seized up on the first day. A problem which the team says has never happened before. Out of the total 101 competitors, 40 suffered from retirements.