Proton, which dominated the 2011 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) with a clean sweep of the eight titles on call, has confirmed its participation in the 2012 APRC championship. The champions will begin the defence of the crown at the International Rally of Whangarei – New Zealand that runs on March 30-April 1.

The news actually came via an International Rally of Queensland-related statement through the Proton Cars Australia route, which announced that the works squad will be returning to contest the IROQ in May as well as an overview of the team’s 2012 APRC plans.

The factory-backed Proton Motorsports team announced Scotsman Alister McRae and Swede Per-Gunnar (P-G) Andersson as its drivers in the APRC. McRae, who is about to tackle the 2012 Dakar endurance rally in South America in a car of his own manufacture, is of course the defending APRC champion as well as 1995 British Rally champion, while Andersson is the 2004 and 2007 Junior World Rally champion.

Proton Motorsports also made a simultaneous announcement that it will expand the six-round Asia Pacific programme into an entry in the 2012 World Rally Championship for S2000-category cars, starting with next month’s Monte Carlo Rally.