Atkinson wins Rally Malaysia
Australian Rally star Chris Atkinson has won the opening round of the 2011 Asia Pacific Rally Championship, the Rally Malaysia.
Atkinson took the lead on the second stage of the event in his Proton Satria Neo S2000 and was never headed to beat home India’s Gaurav Gill (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X) and Proton team-mate Alister McRae.
“Nice to start APRC season with a win,” said Atkinson.
“Great job by the team and Proton!”
The result is the Queenslander’s most significant success since finishing second on World Rally Championship events in Mexico and Argentina in 2008.
After Subaru’s withdrawal from the WRC at the end of the same season; which he finished fifth in the driver’s standings, Atkinson competed just the once in a privately entered Citroen in 2009 where he finished fifth in Ireland.
Last year he joined Proton in its attack on the Asia Pacific Rally Championship and despite showing plenty of pace, the Satria was plagued with mechanical issues.
A raft of improvements to both the suspension and the engine package ahead of this year’s APRC has paid immediate dividends. The fact that Proton has showed its potential at its home event, which is also one of the toughest on man and machine, augers well for the rest of 2011.
As well as the APRC, Proton has also committed to contesting a number of events in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) where Atkinson will be joined in the team by the likes of P-G Andersson of Sweden and Italian tarmac specialist Giandomenico Basso.
Final Results : Rally Malaysia
|1||Chris Atkinson||Proton||Satria Neo S2000||3:14:49.3|
|2||Gaurav Gill||Misubishi||Lancer Evo X||+1:36.6|
|3||Alister McRae||Proton||Satria Neo S2000||+8:48.2|
|4||Brian Green||Subaru||Impreza WRX STi||+19:17.3|
|5||Fan Fan||Misubishi||Lancer Evo X||+29:41.3|
|6||Muhammad Rafiq Udhaya||Subaru||Impreza WRX STi||+32:31.3|
|7||Akira Bamba||Proton||Satria Neo||+43:42.9|
|8||Gunaseelan Rajoo||Proton||Satria Neo||+1:31:02.9|