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PRESS RELEASE

PROTON ENTERS APRC AFTER A FIVE YEAR HIATUS
4th August 2009

VIP and teams at the press conference.

4th August - Proton has entered the FIA ASIA PACIFIC RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP (APRC) ANCOM Malaysian Rally 2009 (MR9) with Karamjit Singh behind the wheel of its Proton Satria Neo S2000. The MR9 is the fifth of seven APRC Rounds and will be held in Johor from 14-16 August.

It has been five years since Proton entered the APRC which is also the last time a Malaysian driver (Karamjit Singh) competed in this regional event.

“It’s a dream come true, an opportunity of a life time for me,” said 47 year-old Karamjit who began his career in 1985. “I have waited twenty-four years for this car.”

Karamjit has won the APRC three times and was FIA Production Car World Rally Champion in 2002. His co-driver is veteran, Jagdev Singh. The two will compete for Championship points against six international drivers including defending APRC Champion, Australian, Cody Crocker of the Motor Image Team and Japan’s Katsuhiko Taguchi of the MRF Tyres Team.

Crocker is the current leader of this year’s Championship on 47 points, Taguchi second on 36 points and New Zealand’s Emma Gilmour, Crocker’s team mate, is third on 23 points. Taguchi and Gilmour will go on to compete in the rallies of Indonesia and China. Crocker has only the China Round to go, so scoring maximum points in Malaysia is very important. APRC competitors need only compete in six of the seven Rounds.

Karamjit cannot take home the APRC title but he is competing for the Asia Cup title. The Asia Cup is a section of the Asia Pacific series for which competitors must nominate and compete in three of four Rounds in order to secure points towards the title. The rallies in Malaysia, Indonesia and China give Karamjit that opportunity.

MALAYSIAN RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP HELD CONCURRENLTY

The third Round of the 2009 MALAYSIAN RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP (MRC) will be held over the same weekend, using the same Stages as the APRC.

Twenty-seven entries in five different engine categories will race for Championship points. They will be flagged-off straight after the APRC competitors.

2008 MRC Champions and this year’s current leaders, Karamjit and Jagdev have also entered this race in order to continue clocking up points towards winning the best driver and co-driver trophies at the end of the year.

However, the real battle to watch will be the five-way competition between Gunaseelan Rajoo of the GSR Pennzoil Racing Team, Saladin Mazlan and Rozali Abdullah of the Felda Rally Team and Indian drivers Arjun Rao and Lahitt Urs. All five will compete in 4WDs.

The 2WD category has many more contenders but all eyes will be on veterans ‘Mike’ Ariokiasamy Ratnam and Jamaluddin Tukimin who won this category in the first and second Rounds respectively.

Nine young drivers are lined up to compete in the Junior category, including Faidzal Alang, the winner of Season One of the Astro Ria Reality TV show ‘Zero.2.Hero’ and runner-up, Azmeer Yusri Yusof, who will drive for the Felda Rally Team.

RACE FACTS

The rallies will be held in the oil-palm plantations of Kota Tinggi, Johor. Competitors will aim to complete 16 Stages over 227.70klms across the weekend. The longest Stage is 24.46klms and the shortest is 3.09klms.

The official flag-off and prize giving ceremonies will be held at the ZON Hotel, Johor Bahru on Friday 14 August at 8pm and Sunday 16 August at 3pm respectively.

The rallies are organized by Malaysia’s leading motor rally promoter, Wheel Sport Management Sdn Bhd, a member of the ANCOM group, the Johor State Government, the Automobile Association of Malaysia (AAM) and Kelab Sukan Motor Perlis.

The MR9 is sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), supported by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Malaysia and Kerajaan Negeri Johor Darul Ta'zim. The MR9 title sponsor is Ancom Berhad and it is co-sponsored by Johor Tourism, Redberry, Silverstone, Proton, Kip Mart, Tai Tak Plantation, Kulim Malaysia Berhad, BERNAMA TV & Malay Mail.

The MR9 will be broadcast to a potential television audience of 60 million with over 176 broadcasters beaming pictures into 196 countries.

PUBLIC ACTIVITIES

Besides the hot Rally car action, there will be a mini carnival at the ZON during the MR9 with loads of fun activities and prizes for the whole family. From 10am -10pm Friday to Sunday, kids young and old can take part in the Rally Q&A, the PS2 Rally Challenge and colouring competitions.

On Saturday there will be an Autoshow: “A Gathering of Men and Machines” from 1.00 -7.00pm followed by a live concert at 9.00pm by “The Fabulous Cats”

All the details are at www.malaysianrally.com. APRC Points and driver profiles for the APRC can be found at www.fiaaprc.com

For more information about this press release please contact:
Diane Barton, Media Director MR9
M: +6017 286 2208 Email: diane@pdq.com.my


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