Team Proton R3 on Sunday sealed a successful 2019 season by clinching the title at the Sepang 1000km (S1K) race for a third consecutive time. The 2019 Proton Iriz driven by Mitchell Cheah and Fariqe Hairuman took top honours while the 2019 Proton Saga driven by Syafiq Ali and Azmi Shahrul made it a strong 1-2 finish.
The result marks Team Proton R3’s third consecutive win and fifth overall S1K victor, making PROTON the most successful manufacturer in the history of the event.
The record is a testament to the reliability and performance of Proton cars as well as the skill, professionalism and teamwork of the team.
The unexpected surprise though, came from the new all-ladies driving team who finished a strong seventh place overall after starting from 26th on the grid.
The ladies team comprised Nurul Husna and Faye Kusairi who were picked from the MSF-R3 Lady Drivers Search, as well as Malaysia’s fastest lady racer—Leona Chin, who led the team.
A technical issue during qualifying saw the ladies’ 2019 Proton Saga starting the race from the back of the grid. The ladies, however, showed amazing skill and tenacity to carve their way up to seventh overall.
Win on Sunday, sell on Monday
The old adage holds true for car manufacturers who compete in motorsports. Victory at races help boost brand image and consequently can help spur vehicle sales.
“By winning the S1K for the fifth time in 11 editions, PROTON has proven its mastery of the event. A 1,000km race requires speed as well as reliability and our models have both. What we learn in the heat of competition we then engineer in to our products to create better cars. The success of both the 2019 Iriz and 2019 Saga in motorsports helped boost the image of each model and as a result, Iriz sales have increased three-fold while the Saga has achieved over 35,000 bookings since its launch,” said Dr. Li Chunrong, chief executive officer of PROTON.