The Malaysian manufacturer is making its SWRC debut on this week’s showcase event and the Swede has set the pace in the category from the opening day. Andersson is now almost six minutes ahead of second-placed driver Craig Breen. Last year’s WRC Academy winner Breen has suffered two punctures on his Ford Fiesta S2000; the Irishman is making his debut on the French Alps event.
“Everything is working well,” said Andersson. “The car has been perfect. We made some changes to the suspension today, which has helped in the high-speed sections of the stages, but really it’s been a very clean run. The focus now is on getting to the finish, we haven’t done anything silly, we haven’t had to push very hard or anything like that. This is really encouraging for the future of PROTON.”
Irishman Breen said: “Everybody talks about this being a difficult event and believe me it is! It’s incredible. I’ve never driven in conditions like this. When we’re getting a clean run, the times are good and we’re pleased with that - and we’re happy to be looking at points for second place from our first event in the SWRC as well.”
Michal Kosciuszko admitted he would be looking to shed some weight from his brand new Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X ahead of its next outing, but for now he’s happy to be in such a dominant position in the Production Car World Rally Championship category - more than an hour ahead of the second placed car.
“I’m just driving safely now,” he said. “I’m happy to be in this position. The car feels heavy, it’s tough for the brakes, but otherwise it’s good.”
British rookie Louise Cook is running second on her PWRC debut in a Ford Fiesta.