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GP Week : Issue 5
n A family affair at the TAC Rally, Belgium's second national championship round, on Saturday. Bernd Casier, who took over in the Rene Georges team's Polo S2000 after Larry Cols' accident, finished third. He was beaten into second place by lady driver Melissa Debackere who is Larry's partner. Cols meanwhile is reported to have left hospital and begun rehabilitation. n Mark Higgins has released details of his new MG Super 2000 project. The car is to make its debut at the opening round of the British championship, the Pirelli Rally on 19/20 April. n After a luckless drive in a Fiat Grande Punto S2000 on the world championship Corona Rally Mexico, Skoda test driver Jan Kopecky is to drive a Peugeot 207 S2000 on the Istanbul Rally next weekend. n The opening rounds of the Australian rally championship were run this weekend in the far south western corner of the country, at Busselton in Western Australia. The first heat was won by Simon Evans, the first victory for a Super 2000 car in the country and his personal 14th successive championship rally win, On the second heat his engine failed and the similar car of team-mate Neal Bates won instead. n More S2000 … Hergen Fekken's VW Polo S2000 won the curiously-named Toyota Dealers Rally in Western Cape, South Africa on Saturday. S2000 cars took the top eight places, with fellow VW driver Enzo Kuun second and the top Toyota Run-X Super 2000 of Mark Cronje third. SPECIAL StAGES FIRST authorised details about Proton's proposed Super 2000 rally car have been released, indicating that the car is on schedule for FIA homologation on July 1 this year, and should first be seen on the special stages in the latter part of 2008. The first prototype is nearly ready for its first run, and work has already started on building the next two cars. The operational centre for this Malaysian company's project is at Mellors Elliot Motorsport premises at Bakewell, Derbyshire (UK), a company which ran Karamjit Singh's cars when he won the FIA's world production car championship in 2002. The competition car is based on the Satria Neo model, but fitted with the Renault based engine taken from the Waja model. “There is a new competitive spirit about Proton”, Chris Mellors explains. “They already have a splendid international heritage in rally sport from earlier days with the Satria car and then the Mitsubishi based Proton Pert. “There are now new people at the helm of the company, eager to see the company involved again. The Satria Neo looks very promising for S2000, being just longer than the minimum length allowed by regulations, with a wheel at each corner, which gives a well balanced shape to the car.” Proton Enters S2000 MEM has long experience in rally engine preparation work and will be responsible for development of the S2000 engine. The basic engine already has a history in Touring Car racing, although it has been decided to increase the stroke in order to give the extra torque which rallying demands. Like the MG ZR S2000 announced last year (which is already becoming active in world level motor sport), the Proton will be fitted with the optional Xtrac rather than the traditional Sadev transmission system. The task of running the Proton cars will be seconded to outside companies. Mellors: “The existence of this project was leaked on to an internet site earlier, but this produced a remarkable spate of enquiries from teams and drivers interested to run the car. Currently it is intended to build ten cars (ten sets of kits must be produced before homologation is granted) and we are talking closely with Malaysia to find out what sort of rally programmes they want their cars to participate in.” Who is MEM? 12