Eurosport Events, the promoter of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, is delighted to announce that Proton will join the IRC in 2009 – following the recent competition debut of its new Satria Neo Super 2000 car. The Malaysian manufacturer becomes the seventh constructor to compete in the IRC series so far.
Proton joins Abarth, Honda, Mitsubishi, Peugeot, Skoda and Volkswagen amongst the ranks of the IRC competitors, who go head-to-head on spectacular events this year, taking in both asphalt and gravel rallies. The IRC series is designed not only to showcase these unique events through the use of innovative television coverage, but also to provide manufacturers with a good promotional platform for customer competition business.
Since producing its first car in 1985 Proton has risen through the ranks of automotive manufacturing and has now exported cars to the UK, Western Europe, The Middle East, China, South East Asia, and Australasia. The company also has a tradition of motorsport, having won the Production Car World Rally Championship title in 2002 with the Proton PERT. Proton has also been the owner of Group Lotus since 1997: an iconic name from the past in motor racing.
In line with many other manufacturers Proton has now moved on to embrace the Super 2000 formula. Since making its competition debut at the end of last year, the Proton Satria Neo S2000 has marked itself out as a car to watch.
Marcello Lotti, the IRC’s General Manager, commented: "We are absolutely delighted to welcome Proton into the IRC family, which goes from strength to strength. The new Satria Neo S2000 has already attracted a lot of praise in its short career to date. I have no doubt that Proton will quickly find success with competitive rally customers on IRC events, as well as on national and regional championships that are based on S2000 technical regulations."
Proton Managing Director, Datuk Syed Zainal, added "The IRC provides the ideal format for manufacturers to showcase their products around the world. We are very excited to register for the IRC this year, alongside many of the leading manufacturers in motorsport. Although we are still developing the Proton, the IRC will provide the perfect opportunity to gauge the competitiveness of the car, and ultimately to take the project forward."
The IRC is an intercontinental rally series authorised by the FIA, which got underway at the start of this year with the Monte Carlo Rally: the oldest and prestigious event in the history of the sport.
The second round of the series took place last week in Brazil, at the Rally Internacional de Curitiba.
For more information please contact:
* IRC: Anthony Peacock on or +44 (0) 7766 163 151
* Proton/ Mellors Elliott Motorsport (MEM):

Proton is the latest manufacturer to join the IRC series

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