Double European Rally Champion Giandomenico Basso has talked of his pleasure at driving for the Proton team ahead of his return to the Intercontinental Rally Challenge on next week's Yalta Rally.
The 37-year-old Italian had been facing a season on the sidelines before he returned to the IRC – a series he won in 2006 – with the Malaysian manufacturer earlier this year. His first outing in a Satria Neo S2000 brought a ninth-place finish on the Rally Islas Canarias, but Basso is sure there's more to come.
"My first impressions are good with the car," he said. "It's clear that we have a lot of work to do with Proton, but the car reacts well to setup changes and the distance that we did in the Canary Islands was very useful to help me adapt the car to the way that I drive."
Basso praised Proton team principal Chris Mellors for his efforts in developing the Satria. He added: "Just like myself, I can see that Chris is a person who puts his heart completely into what he does.
"It doesn't matter for me if I'm battling for the bottom or the top of the top 10 because I'll always do it to the best of my abilities, pushing as hard as I can. I'll try and make the best use of what I have got to achieve the most that we can. I'm delighted to be back in a championship that I really love, where I feel comfortable."
Basso will be joined by Proton teammate P-G Andersson and Ukrainian driver Alexander Salyuk in a three-car team for the Ukraine's first ever IRC round, the Yalta Rally, which gets under way from the Crimean coast next Thursday.