WRC »

Crash.net EXCLUSIVE: Q&A: Chris Mellors

TO HEAR THE INTERVIEW IN FULL WITH CHRIS MELLORS: CLICK HERE


MEM World Rally Team boss, Chris Mellors got to see Niall McShea debut the new Proton Satria S2000 in the World Rally Championship on Rally Ireland last weekend. Crash.net Radio's Rob Wilkins caught up with him recently to get his thoughts on the cars performance, which stunned many, and quiz him on those rumours linking Petter Solberg to the team...


Crash.net:
Chris, the new Proton Satria S2000 car, ran strongly in Ireland last weekend. How pleased were you with the cars performance?

Chris Mellors:
We were absolutely delighted. We had a reasonable test the week before and the car was proving to be fairly fast. But we never quite expected the pace that we got over the stages.

Crash.net:
Niall McShea was third fastest time in that first stage and he was then eighth fastest in SS2 as well, before having to retire for the day. Those were great stage results - and I am not trying to take anything away from what was achieved, but how much was down to the conditions and the choice of tyres...

CM:
I think to be honest if it had been dry we would have gone faster. It was obviously a very good choice of tyre, but Niall was in front of most of the other cars that had gone on the snow tyre. Niall did a brilliant job. He was very fast, had a lot of commitment and the car responded to that.

Crash.net:
Niall re-started on day two under the SupeRally. Again the times were promising, how disappointed were you when he crashed out in SS14?

CM:
To be honest we weren't so disappointed. Obviously it was a shame, but not so much. We wanted to just measure the pace of the car against the Group N and the WRC cars and we achieved that. We were very disappointed on the first day when a missing o-ring out of the ECU [Electronic Control Unit] caused us not to be able to continue because I think at the end of the first day we would have been very strong. The second day obviously you don't push quite so hard and the accident Niall had was just one of those things. It was a very big puddle and it just aquaplaned and the car left the road on a very narrow section and that was that. But we weren't attacking quite as hard on the second day but Niall still put in top ten times and proved what we can do.

Crash.net:
What did Niall think of the Proton Satria S2000?

CM:
He absolutely loves it and he can't wait to get back in. I must say we would like him in there as soon as possible too.

Crash.net:
Did he make any suggestions on how to improve it a little bit more?

CM:
Yeah, on the test we made some changes to the set-up. Obviously every rally is different and if we had been on a dry rally or a tighter circuit we would have had a different set-up again. But we managed to get the car, pretty much, to how Niall likes it - and we are learning about the car all the time. We are gathering a lot of data as we go along and are very pleased with it.

Crash.net:
What's next for MEM and the Proton Satria S2000, in terms of both testing and the next event for it?

CM:
We are doing a lot of testing at the moment and we are doing a lot of work towards trying to get it out on some IRC [Intercontinental Rally Challenge] rounds and probably some British championship rounds too. I have got to sit down now with Proton and see how we take the project forward. They are very excited by the pace of the car - and we are going to get our heads together and then see what the best route is to take the project.

Crash.net:
Petter Solberg has been linked to MEM for 2010 - can you tell us anything about that?

CM:
Not a lot really at this stage. Petter is obviously looking at next year and what is available for Super 2000 and Super 2000 plus. We would very much like to have him in the car and we are exploring all possibilities. There are a number of drivers out there that are looking for rides and it would be great to be able to do something with him. We will see how that progresses.

Crash.net:
Is there any chance we could see Petter test the car this year or even drive it on an event?

CM:
Yes, I am sure there is.

Crash.net:
Final question, can you give us a hint on the next event we might see the Proton Satria S2000 on?

CM:
We are just looking at the first round of the Italian championship, which may be an option or the first round of the British championship. I think it will be one of those.


TO HEAR THE INTERVIEW IN FULL WITH CHRIS MELLORS: CLICK HERE

by Rob Wilkins


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Nial McShea (GB) Marshall Clarke (GB), Proton Satria S2000

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.