WRC Wales Rally GB 2012
Sebastien Loeb will be the first driver to select his road position for Wales Rally GB's opening stages on Friday after he topped a dramatic Qualifying Stage in his Citroen DS3 WRC this afternoon.
Loeb, who is chasing his ninth FIA World Rally Championship drivers' title and Citroen's eighth makes' award this season, took 2m22.260s to complete the 3.91-kilometre stage at the Walters Arena complex north of the event base in Cardiff.
"It was a good run," said the French ace and current WRC title leader. "I made one or two small mistakes but I am happy, it was not raining for me."
But while Loeb has gained an early advantage in his bid for his fourth Rally GB triumph, rival Petter Solberg was left frustrated as it began to rain just as he was about to launch his Ford Fiesta RS WRC from the stage start.
"It's unbelievable," he said after losing out to Loeb by 0.051s. "The rain tap is turned on again at the start line [just like in Germany]. I didn't know what the grip would be like and I was braking too early for some of the corners. It's frustrating but I still have one aim and that is to win."
With drivers picking their road position at the ceremonial start in Llandudno on Thursday evening in order of fastest to slowest, Solberg will select his place on the road after Loeb.
Mikko Hirvonen, in the second works Citroen, was third quickest with Citroen Junior Thierry Neuville - making his Rally GB debut - fourth fastest, +0.878s down on Loeb. Factory Ford pilot and last year's winner Jari-Matti Latvala was fifth quickest, 1.133s slower than Loeb with Ford privateer Mads Ostberg completing the top six.
Matthew Wilson, contesting a Qualifying Stage for the first time in his career, was ninth fastest with Chris Atkinson the leading MINI John Cooper Works WRC driver in 11th place. The Australian reported sliding wide at one corner but was otherwise satisfied with his efforts
PROTON Satria Neo S2000 driven by 16 yr old Oliver Mellors - Rally Negeri Sembilan 2011
After a dominant run in the 2011 Asia Pacific Rally Championship winning the Manufacturers and Drivers titles, PROTON ran as "double-zero" or safety course car in the last round of the Malaysian Rally Championship in Bahau, Negeri Sembilan. This was a fitting end to the year as the team wanted to give Malaysian fans the opportunity to see the Satria Neo S2000 in action. Behind the wheel is 16yr old "Ollie" Mellors from the UK. Although only the "00", Ollie set many of the fastest stage times of the rally. You can see him getting out of the car at the end of the stage before the transport section, as he is not allowed to drive on Malaysian public roads until he is 17.
Wales Rally GB 2012 - Recce [HD]
@FordWRC @MSportWRT @mattyjim1 @MikkoWRC @YazeedRacing @CitroenRacing @ChrisAtko @motorsportita @thierryneuville @SebOgier @tomcaverally @protonmsports @HaydenPaddon - All the behind the scenes action from Wales Rally GB 2012 with Sébastien Loeb, Mikko Hirvonen, Jari-Matti Latvala, Evgeny Novikov, Thierry Neuville, Chris Atkinson, Matthew Wilson, Tom Cave, and Yazeed Al-Rajhi
PROTON SATRIA NEO R3 1.6L
There's no change in the power output of the Satria Neo R3, which is the first R3 model to be built on a production line (incidentally, the hatch is now assembled in Shah Alam); the CPS unit delivers the stock 125 hp at 6,500 rpm and 150 Nm at 4,500 rpm. The suspension has also been left untouched. What it does get is a R3 Design front splitter/lips and rear spoiler, with titanium-coloured side protector mouldings. It also wears R3 Design six-spoke 16-inch alloys, finished in a gunmetal shade, wrapped with 195/50 profile Continental MC5 rubbers. All-round R3 badging completes the exterior work.
Inside, the edition gets R3 leather upholstery for the seats, as well as R3 floor mats and a double-DIN multimedia player with navigation. No red-themed contrast accents here -- the interior is pretty much stock, aside from the upholstery. Safety kit is made up of dual airbags and ABS with EBD. Unlike the R3 Satria Neo, which came only in a Fire Red exterior shade with a black painted roof, the Satria Neo R3 is available in three colours, these being Tranquility Black, Fire Red and GTi Silver.The Satria Neo R3 Executive Line MT manual rolls in at RM61,250, with the Executive Line AT version going for RM64,250. Optional R3 upgrades performance upgrades abound, and at promotional prices until the end of the year -- there's a R3 Satria Neo ECU upgrade and full Exhaust system (RM2,841), R3 belt and aluminium pulley (RM315) as well as a R3 lowering spring/suspension set (RM541). Styling items include shoulder line and grille stripe decals (RM140), as seen on the launch examples. For bookings and registrations made by December 31, 2012, the signature R3 side stripe and front grille decal will be included free. There was also a particular Satria Neo R3 example finished in yellow, replete with S2000 side decals to mimic the rally car. As was told, the colour isn't on the palette, so you can't get one yet, but the company is mulling over including it in the shade lineup.