Proton Motorsports has withdrawn its entry for P-G Andersson from next month's Rally Sweden.
The Malaysian team had intended to start its 2013 season in the snows of Scandinavia, aiming for a repeat of the dominant class win achieved by Andersson on the event last year, but a delay in the supply of vital parts for the Satria Neo S2000 has made it impossible for the team to make the start the Karlstad event a week on Thursday (7 February).
The team will now switch its attentions to pre-season testing for the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, which starts with the Rally of Whangarei in New Zealand on 17 May. The Chris Mellors-run team is committed to returning the Malaysian firm's name to the top of the six-round APRC standings with the latest specification of Satria Neo S2000.
“Two years ago, Proton Motorsports dominated the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, winning the drivers' and manufacturers' titles, [but] last year we finished second,” Mellors pointed out, “This year, we intend to be first again. The Asia-Pacific campaign is at the forefront of what we're doing in 2013.
“The [Swedish] event was never included in the original programme for us - we entered for P-G and his Swedish fans – but, unfortunately, some vital parts haven't arrived in time and, without those, we can't start the rally.
“P-G and [co-driver] Emil [Axelsson] dominated the SWRC round in Sweden last season, and it would have been nice to repeat that result next month. Obviously, P-G's disappointed, but so are we all, as competing at the highest level with a Scandinavian in Scandinavia, in the snow, in a Satria, would have been a great start to the season. But, like I said, the focus is APRC this season and we're very excited about starting testing for New Zealand very soon.”