It could have been a dream start of S-WRC season for Proton rally team to get its maiden win in a debut season in a season opener rally round. After climbing into the overall top 10 in the opening day, the S2000 Satria Neo moved into overall 9th and took the lead of S-WRC in the second day, in the hands of Per Gunnar Andersson after the S-WRC leader, Sebastien Ogeir crashed out in his Skoda Fabia S2000.
Andersson continued to build up his lead against his nearest challenger, Kevin Abbring in his Skoda Fabia S2000. Andersson stretched his S-WRC lead from 23 seconds to 1 minute 40 seconds. Meanwhile, the legendary Sebastian Loeb continue to dominate the rally at the front, comfortably leading by 2 minutes ahead of Dani Sordo in his Mini. More after the jump.
However in the 4th day, the Satria Neo S2000 suffered a fire in the engine bay, which later turned out to be caused by a fuel leak in the engine bay. The incident happened in the Special Stage 16, a 23.41km run in Moulinet-La Bollene Vesubie. It is a pity that after a commanding lead over the heavyweight Skoda, Ford and Peugeot in S-WRC class, where Andersson was some 1 minute 48 seconds in front of the chasing Skoda during the incident. But, well, in order to finish first, first you have to finish.
Overall, the opening round of 2012 FIA WRC was won by Sebastian Loeb by almost 3 minutes. Full results below:
1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen 4h32m39.9s 2. Dani Sordo Mini + 2m45.5s 3. Petter Solberg Ford + 3m14.2s 4. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen + 4m06.8s 5. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Ford + 6m03.4s 6. Francois Delecour M-Sport Ford + 7m47.9s 7. Pierre Campana Mini + 8m31.4s 8. Ott Tanak M-Sport Ford + 10m34.7s 9. Martin Prokop Czech Ford + 16m10.7s
10. Armindo Araujo Araujo Mini + 16m16.6