PRO­TON IRIZ DE­BUTS WITH A PODIUM RUN

Motor Sport News - - Rally News -

Ol­lie Mel­lors gave the brand new Pro­ton Iriz R5 its com­pe­ti­tion de­but on the Mal­ton For­est Rally, fin­ish­ing third.

Mel­lors El­liot Mo­tor­sport team has tested the car ex­ten­sively, in­clud­ing with Mar­cus Gron­holm be­hind the wheel, with the tar­get of com­pet­ing in WRC2. The com­pany has won cham­pi­onships in the WRC be­fore with its Pro­ton Sa­tria S2000.

“I had only driven this cur­rent-spec car for half a day prior to the rally,” said Mel­lors. “The aim was to just get around to­day and see if we had any is­sues.”

“There were no early teething prob­lems and apart from scar­ing my­self in Lang­dale’s first run and then los­ing a boost pipe on the sec­ond, it was fault­less and fin­ish­ing third be­hind two WRC cars was a bonus,” he said.

“It’s the big­gest project we have un­der­taken as a com­pany, but ob­vi­ously hav­ing done the S2000 with Pro­ton that helped,” said Ol­lie’s fa­ther Chris, him­self a Min­tex Rally cham­pion in the 1990s. “Now we’ve run the car, the ho­molo­ga­tion is be­ing looked at. We have other cars in build and ex­pect to tar­get the Asia Pa­cific Rally Cham­pi­onship first.”

The team has an en­try in for the car on the Grizedale Stages next month.

● Le Mans win­ner Guy Smith had his first gravel rally out­ing for two years when he tack­led the Mal­ton For­est Rally in fa­ther Peter’s Ford Fi­esta R5 driven by Matt Ed­wards in the Bri­tish Rally Cham­pi­onship this year. “It’s the new­est and fastest rally car I have tried on the loose, but what an ex­pe­ri­ence,” he said af­ter fin­ish­ing sev­enth. Smith will look to de­fend his Christ­mas Stages win at Croft in De­cem­ber.

Pho­tos: Kevin Money, Jakob Ebrey, An­drew Bushe

Ol­lie Mel­l­lors drove the car

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