Proton emerged victorious at the China Rally over the weekend, clinching both the Asia Pacific Rally Championship driver’s and manufacturer’s titles for the 2011 season.

Alister McRae won the driver’s title in style, piloting the Satria Neo S2000 to its fourth victory of the six-round season, finishing ahead of Finnish driver Jari Ketomaa in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X. Chris Atkinson finished third to make it a Proton 1-2 in the APRC driver’s championship.

The Satria Neo S2000’s dominant performance throughout the season also gave Proton the coveted APRC manufacturer’s championship ahead of Mitsubishi, with Subaru finishing a distant third.

The results in China also saw Proton becoming the first car manufacturer to win all eight major individual titles in the FIA APRC, with the overall FIA APRC driver’s title and FIA APRC manufacturer’s title leading the honour roll.

The other titles are the FIA APRC Teams Trophy; the FIA Asia Cup driver’s title; the FIA Pacific Cup driver’s title; the manufacturer’s title in the FIA APRC Rally Cup for two-wheel drive category; the FIA APRC Rally Cup two-wheel drive driver’s title; and FIA APRC Junior Cup driver’s title.

“The results in China sum up what has been a challenging, but nevertheless rewarding year for Proton. Excelling in competition serves a bigger purpose in that it significantly supports our aspiration in becoming a competitive global car manufacturer,” said Proton MD Datuk Seri Syed Zainal Abidin.

“Motorsports is one of several key strategies being pursued to enhance the Proton brand especially in markets that we are actively exporting to. In addition, it also enables us to promote the brand and increase awareness in new and potential markets.”

“Motorsports also injects excitement into the brand or a particular model, and it provides a platform in which technology and technical know-how can be developed and applied to future road-going models,” he added.