Eurosport Events, the promoter of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, has announced that Proton has become the seventh manufacturer to sign up for the 2009 season with its Satrio Neo S2000.

The car, which impressed on its debut in the WRC with Niall McShea in Ireland, will join rivals from Abarth, Honda, Mitsubishi, Peugeot, Skoda and VW when it joins the IRC field, with an entry into the series being seen as the ideal way to continue the development of the new car.

The Satria Neo S2000 could also be given further outings in the WRC and in domestic series' over the course of the year.

"The IRC provides the ideal format for manufacturers to showcase their products around the world," Proton managing director Datuk Syed Zainal said. "We are very excited to register for the IRC this year, alongside many of the leading manufacturers in motorsport. Although we are still developing the Proton, the IRC will provide the perfect opportunity to gauge the competitiveness of the car, and ultimately to take the project forward."

IRC general manager Marcello Lotti said he was pleased to welcome a new addition to the ranks for the remainder of the season.

"We are absolutely delighted to welcome Proton into the IRC family, which goes from strength to strength," he said. "The new Satria Neo S2000 has already attracted a lot of praise in its short career to date. I have no doubt that Proton will quickly find success with competitive rally customers on IRC events, as well as on national and regional championships that are based on S2000 technical regulations."