Double Junior World Rally Champion P-G Andersson has completed his first test in the PROTON Satria Neo S2000 he will drive on next month’s Monte Carlo Rally.

The 30-year-old Swede drove the Satria for two days just south of Grenoble earlier this week and was delighted with the PROTON. Andersson will join regular PROTON driver Chris Atkinson in the team’s first assault on the opening round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, the Monte Carlo Rally.

Both Andersson and Atkinson will return to the French Alps early next month when they will carry out an extensive pre-event test in preparation for what’s being billed as one of the toughest and most competitive rallies of the season.

For Andersson’s first drive, the PROTON ran in its current 2010 specification, with the next evolution of the two-litre engine ready for his next test. He completed more than 200 kilometres of trouble-free running in heavy snow.

P-G Andersson said: “I knew from a long time ago, from talking to the other drivers, that the PROTON chassis was good – and it really is good. I’m very pleased with the first test. As the conditions on the test changed a little bit, we made some changes to the chassis and you could feel those changes straight away. It was good to get plenty of running on studded tyres before the Monte. By the end of the second day of the test, we did have a clean line coming on the road and we were able to run without the studs, but it would be good to get some time on dry asphalt on the next test. I’m really looking forward to the event now. I feel positive with the car and the team. The Monte is going to be a very big event for everybody, there are a lot of very good drivers coming out for the event and the competition will be tough. But I’m very happy with the PROTON and where I am for the start of the season.”

Chris Mellors (team principal) said: “We’ve been very impressed with what P-G achieved from his first two days in the car. He’s gelled immediately with the team and we’re all looking forward to working together next season. We got some great winter conditions for the test, it was between minus nine and minus 13 degrees for the two days. P-G did plenty of driving, including some running in the dark and he was very happy with the car. It was a very productive two days, but the next test, next month, is where we will finalise the set-up for P-G and Chris before the start of the Monte. This is a great way for PROTON Motorsports to end 2010, ahead of what’s clearly going to be an even more exciting 2011!”

PROTON Motorsports
The Malaysian manufacturer will contest the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship with two of the sport’s biggest names, Chris Atkinson and Alister McRae, driving the British-built Satria Neo S2000s. McRae and Atkinson will be looking to build on the one-two finish they achieved on the final round of this year’s APRC in China. In addition to its Asian commitment, PROTON Motorsports will compete on 10 rounds of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, the world’s most competitive series for Super 2000 rally cars.

The Monte Carlo Rally
Running from Wednesday January 19 to Saturday January 22. The world’s oldest rally celebrates its 100th anniversary next month. Starting in Valence, this exceptionally tough event runs through the Ardeche region before ending with the legendary road from Moulinet to La Bollene-Vesubie in the Alpes Maritimes; this particular stage includes possibly the most famous mountain pass in motorsport: the Col de Turini. The popularity of the world’s most famous rally knows no bounds, the event has been oversubscribed three times and there will be standing room only when the champagne corks pop outside the Prince’s Palace of Monaco at the finish. For those unable to make the trip, the television coverage of this year’s Monte Carlo Rally is also making history, by being the first IRC round to run with live coverage of every stage from Eurosport. 
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