Francois Duval is likely to miss the Monte Carlo Rally after breaking two vertebrae in a fall at home in Belgium.
Although he had not yet confirmed a drive for the event, Duval had recently tested a Proton Satria Neo Super 2000 in Wales. After returning home, he slipped on some ice and broke two vertebrae in his back. He is expected to make a full recovery, but could be out of action for two months. The season-opening Monte Carlo Rally gets under way on Jan. 19.
Duval had been testing the new Proton alongside Anton Alen and Matti Rantanen.
Proton factory team boss Chris Mellors said after the test: "We had three great drivers who gave us some very positive and valuable feedback. From our point of view, one of the most encouraging things is that we put the equivalent of a world championship rally distance on the car without have to do any work to it."
Alen, who is believed to be considering a deal with Proton for 2010, added: "The car felt very stable and the engine had a really good spread of torque right from the bottom all the way to the top."