Proton Motorsport will be competing in the Motorsport UK British Rally Championship (BRC) for the 2021 season, with the Malaysian car manufacturer being represented once again by Mellors Elliot Motorsport (MEM). The team will compete with the firm’s Iriz R5 rally car, which will be driven by Oliver Mellors and co-driver Max Freeman.

The attempt for the British title comes 12 months after Proton made its return to the series after a four-year sabbatical. At the Cambrian Rally last year, Mellors drove the Iriz R5 to fourth-place and collected 14 points before the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the championship.

Mellors said that the team was excited about returning to challenge for the title this year with the Iriz R5. “We have been waiting for the 2021 season to start pretty much since March last year after committing to the BRC last season and we felt pretty good after fourth place at the first round in Wales. Of course, we haven’t managed much since, so really feel we need to pick up where we left off and have another go.” he said.

The cancellation of the championship last year means the Iriz R5 has yet to enjoy a season-long campaign, but Mellors is looking forward to showing the car’s capabilities this season. “It’s great to be back behind the wheel and back in the BRC with Proton and I`m hoping we can prove the potential of the Iriz against the best of the British Championship competitors.”

“Covid knocked us back last year and the plans for the continuation of the car, not just in the UK but globally. It’s meant that we had to take stock and see what the best way was to get the Iriz R5 back out into the limelight. When you see there is competition from pretty much every other manufacturer this season, it’s almost like contesting a WRC event, so the BRC fits in with that desire perfectly,” he explained.

The opening round of the season starts at the end of this month, with the teams set to compete in the Neil Howard Stages at Oulton Park Race Circuit, a location Mellors is familiar with. “The plan will certainly be to get a good start to the season under our belts at Oulton to see where the pace is,” he said.

Proton is no stranger to rallying in the UK – the brand has an association with rally championships in the country that stems back to the 1990s, and won the BRC in the Super 1600 category with the Satria S1600 in 2000.