Will Proton make a debut in the World Rally Championship for the 2010 season? Apparently this is a possibility, and Proton is actually working at making this happen, according to Proton director Datuk Haji Abdul Razak Dawood. He says a successful WRC program could establish Proton’s brand and reputation in Europe the same way it helped Subaru in the 90s.
According to Datuk Haji, a Proton Satria Neo in the WRC could possibly turn it into a cult car with a following like what Subaru enjoyed with the WRX. If the proposed WRC regulation revisions to a “S2000+ spec” becomes official, it would allow Proton to compete in the WRC with a much smaller budget and compete against the big boys like Ford and Citroen. All that needs to be done is to upgrade the existing MEM Satria Neo S2000 (shown above) to whatever the S2000+ spec is.
2003 World Champion Petter Solberg is said to be in talks with Proton for a 2010 season. He will be testing the MEM Satria Neo S2000 car sometime in February, and according to him the Proton is a nice and detailed car. He says he has met with Proton but nothing about the proposed 2010 season has been finalised yet. There is also word about Solberg racing in a Citroen C4 instead, but he says that deal has not been finalised yet either.http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/72832
Petter Solberg is in talks with Proton over a potential World Rally Championship programme in 2010.
The 2003 world champion met with the Malaysian manufacturer's directors last week and is believed to be looking at a part-time campaign this season, coupled with testing and development work on the Satria S2000 for next year.
He is due to test a MEM-built S2000-spec car at some point next month, with a view to a deal for 2010, but Solberg says nothing has been finalised yet.
"The Proton is a nice car, it's a very detailed car," he told Autosport. "I met with them and that's it. For the future, it's hard to say."
Proton director Datuk Hj Adbul Razak Dawood admitted that the WRC is Proton's goal, and believes a successful programme could help the manufacturer to establish their reputation in Europe in the same way as Subaru did in the 1990s.
"The Satria is not known as a performance car, but we have a very big following in Asia and this car would turn that into the sort of cult following that Subaru developed," he said.
"The WRC is very interesting, we'd be fighting with the big boys - the chance to take on manufacturers like Ford and Citroen, albeit using a much smaller budget, is something we would welcome."
Solberg is continuing to work towards a drive in his home WRC round in Norway next month, having submitted an entry but not specified a car. He has been linked with a Citroen C4 seat, but says he has no deal with the French firm either.
"The problem is with the number of cars - there are just so many of them out there. I am trying to get a top car to try to win the rally," said Solberg.
"If that's not possible, I'm looking at another car to put on a show for the fans [believed to be a Xsara WRC]. This is not the option I want, but it might be the only one."This post has been edited by linkinstreet: Jan 21 2009, 02:43 PM