Subang Jaya, 24 November 2019 – With a 1-2 podium finish, Team Proton R3 ended the 2019 season on a high by winning the Sepang 1000km (S1K) race. This is the third consecutive time the team has won this endurance race. Mitchell Cheah and Fariqe Hairuman took the top spot driving the 2019 Proton Iriz, while Syafiq Ali and Admi Shahrul took second place with the 2019 Proton Saga. Mitchell and Fariqe dominated a tough race which ended after nine hours instead of the scheduled 181 laps due to a safety car period and inclement weather.
With a third consecutive and fifth overall victory in the S1K race, PROTON has stretched its lead as the most successful manufacturer in the event’s history. This record is a testament to the reliability, handling and performance of Proton cars as well as the skill, professionalism and teamwork of R3 who are arguably the leading racing team in Malaysia.
“Being successful in motor racing requires a combination of factors. A manufacturer for instance would firstly need the correct models in its range that would be suitable for the job. Even if a suitable model is available, it is difficult to achieve success as the car needs to be developed while the skills of the racing team, from the technicians to the drivers, needs to be finely honed. This requires an investment in time and money and PROTON’s success in motorsports is proof our investment in R3, our in-house racing division, is a wise one,” said Dr. Li Chunrong, Chief Executive Officer of PROTON.
Team Proton R3 fielded three cars for this year’s S1K with the third car featuring an all-female driving team. Nurul Husna and Faye Kusairi were selected from the MSF-R3 Lady Drivers Search that gave aspiring lady racers a chance to compete in the S1K race. Meanwhile, the lead driver for the team was Leona Chin, a Malaysia’s fastest lady racer.
Things did not go as planned for the female team as a technical issue during qualifying meant the team’s 2019 Proton Saga started the race from 26th on the grid. Despite the early setback, the ladies showed amazing skill and fighting spirit as they carved their way up to seventh overall, and first among all lady drivers by the end of the race.
“Our lady drivers performed very well and we are proud of their achievement. By finishing seventh, they have proven their capability to compete in the male dominated arena of motorsports and PROTON are proud to have given Malaysian women an opportunity to showcase their talents,” said Dr. Li Chunrong.
“Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” was a marketing phrase often used by car manufacturers who were involved in motorsports, with the idea that success on the track will help boost the brand image and help sell cars. “By winning the S1K for the fifth time in 11 editions, PROTON has proven its mastery of the event. A 1,000kn race requires speed as well as reliability and our models have both. What we learn in the heat of competition we then engineer in to our products to create better cars. The success of both the 2019 Iriz and 2019 Saga in motorsports helped boost the image of each model and as a result, Iriz sales have increased three-fold while the Saga has achieved over 35,000 bookings since its launch,” added Dr. Li.