Click to enlarge

After a heartbreaking season opening Monte Carlo Rally, Proton Motorsports has collected its first points of the 2011 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) season. Italian driver Giandomenico Basso finished ninth in the Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Inglés in Spain, the second round of IRC 2011. The rally was won by Skoda’s Juha Hanninen ahead of teammate Jan Kopecky and the Peugeot of Thierry Neuville in third.

The yellow Neo S2000 of Basso was the best placed car that wasn’t a Fabia or 207. Team mate PG Andersson completed the rally in 16th place. Proton now has 16 points, two behind Subaru, but a long way behind powerhouses Skoda and Peugeot.

“It is a positive result to start with the new team…I think we did a good job and now that the event is over, we will be discussing what further improvements we can make to the car with as there is still a long way to go in the championship,” Basso said.

Click to enlarge

PG Andersson lost a lot of ground on Day 1 of the rally due to two punctures. The Swede stopped to change a first puncture but with the absence of a second spare tyre, was forced to tackle special stage six nursing a slow puncture. That dropped him to drop to 19th overall, but the ex JWRC champ fought back hard on the second and final day to reduce the deficit to 16th.

After Monte Carlo, the team will be happy to see two cars finish the rally and put some points on the board. This also comes after Proton’s win at the APRC season opening Malaysian Rally earlier this month.

The next IRC event is the Tour de Corse at Corsica Island, France next month.