Proton driver P-G Andersson has refused to be downbeat about his second-stage retirement from the Monte Carlo Rally, with the Swede hoping for more outings in the Satria Neo S2000.
Andersson's car retired from 11th place yesterday after suffering damage inflicted by a puncture in the second stage. His teammate Chris Atkinson retired on the opener with an electrical problem aboard the sister Proton.
"The car is good," said Andersson. "We had a new engine for the event and you could feel the power and torque was coming lower down in the rev range. I like the car, the chassis is very, very strong. We have done some work and it was better, there is more work to do and it will be better again.
"It's really disappointing to be standing here in my jeans rather than my overalls, I was so looking forward to this event. I got the puncture from a rock which was hidden under some leaves, then when I was braking for a hairpin one of the arms broke on the car and the wheel turned out. There was nothing more we could do."
Atkinson's retirement has been traced to a voltage surge which damaged the electronic control box.
"I'm gutted," he said. "Driving cars as fast as we can is why we're here, so not to be doing that is massively disappointing. I was really looking forward to racing P-G, it would have been great competition – and the car felt good with the engine. I guess it's the sport some times, but it's tough on all of the team when we've all worked so hard to get here."
Team principal Chris Mellors was mystified by the electrical issue, which he said was a first for the Satria.
"We're looking at the data right now and we will work through this," he said. "It's a tough one for Chris and for the team; P-G's time in the first stage was fine, he was settling in. I'm confident, if he'd gotten through, we would have been running well in the top 10."