Proton will make its return to the World Rally Championship in 2018 with the new Iriz R5, according to a report by Autosport. The rally car will be put together by British firm Mellors Elliot Motorsport (MEM) at its Derbyshire factory, and is set to appear at next month’s Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Built to compete in the WRC2 category as well as the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), the Iriz R5 is powered by a 4B11T turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine taken from a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X. To comply with the R5 class regulations, the engine’s displacement has been decreased from the stock 2.0 litres down to 1.6 litres.

Other notable components include an Xtrac transmission, Reiger dampers, Brembo brakes and Cosworth electronics. The car will be available in both left- and right-hand drive, with homologation set to take place on January 1, 2018.

“We started looking at this with Proton last year and straight away we were excited by what we saw with the road car. The size and shape of the Iriz is perfect for rallying,” said team boss Chris Mellors.

“Everything is in the right place: the overall length of the car is shorter than the Satria, but the wheelbase is longer; the strut tops are in just the right place; there’s lots of frontal area which is great for cooling. We’ve got a great base car and into that we’ve put all the right ingredients,” he added.

This isn’t the first time MEM used a Proton for rallying either, as it had previously built the Satria Neo S2000. The car competed in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC), Super 2000 World Rally Championship (SWRC) and the APRC.

“Proton never lost its interest and desire to compete in rallying. It was just the practical point that there was no car. Proton is really excited by what we’ve got here,” Mellor said.