The PROTON Motorsports Satria Neo S2000 will start this week’s Malaysian Rally with further developments on the engine and suspension.

Two cars will be driven on the opening round of this year’s FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship by Chris Atkinson (Australia) and Alister McRae (Scotland). Both drivers are delighted with their first test of the latest-specification PROTON.

The changes to the car include the use of Reiger Racing Suspension, with the Dutch firm an acknowledged expert in the field. As well as the new dampers, the Satria Neo S2000 benefits from engine developments, which offer more torque from the stunning two-litre Malaysian machine.

Atkinson and McRae test the cars again tomorrow, ahead of the ceremonial start of the Johor Bahru-based event on Friday (April 1). The rally finishes on Sunday (April 3).

PROTON Motorsports will contest this year’s Intercontinental Rally Challenge as well as the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship.

Alister McRae said: “The car is definitely stronger coming to the start of the first event. We drove it for the first time over the weekend, in the same place that we did a test last year and immediately it felt very, very good. For example, where we had to go down to first gear to get out of tighter corners last year, we’re able to leave the car in second and the improved torque lower down really pulls the car away and out of the bend.”

Chris Atkinson said: “The dampers are such an important part of the car – they’re what connects everything to the road. Already from the first time you drive the car, you can feel improved traction and stability from the PROTON. That feeling translates into more confidence and more speed from the driver, it’s fantastic. I can’t wait to get the event started now!”

Chris Mellors (team principal) said: “Just from talking to the guys, you can see the way they feel about the work we’ve been doing over the last couple of months. It’s tremendously exciting to be starting the season in APRC. We have been working with the Reiger engineers, developing this new system, while simultaneously improving the linear-nature of the power development and we’ve come out of the winter with a very, very competitive car. Like the guys are saying, we can’t wait to get going!”

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