Per-Gunnar Andersson will join Chris Atkinson and compete for Proton on the Rallye Monte Carlo in January, the opening round of the 2011 Intercontinental Rally Challenge, it has been announced.

Andersson, who won the Junior World Rally Championship in 2004 and 2007, has currently only agreed a one-event deal to use the Satria Neo S2000, although that could yet be extended.

"It's great to be joining the Proton team for Monte, I can't wait to get the testing started. It's been a couple of years since I was on this rally the last time, but I have always made good stage times there and it's a rally I like," said P-G.

"Of course, the conditions can make it tough, but if you have to gamble with the tyre choice then you can always make some big gains.

"Drivers tend to like grip from the car, so a dry Monte would be nice, but if we have a lot of snow it's always fantastic to drive in these conditions. For now, we are with Proton for Monte, but we will be talking straight after the rally to see what is possible for the future. I'm very happy to join a team which is looking forward to a good future in the sport."

Team boss Chris Mellors meanwhile is confident Proton can do well in 2011 and in addition to confirming Andersson and Atkinson for the Monte, the Malaysian manufacturer also revealed its full plans for next season, which will see it contest ten of the twelve IRC rounds, as well as taking in the full FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship. Alister McRae incidentally remains on board and will contest the APRC series and selected rounds of the IRC.

"We've had an extremely positive few weeks since the end of our season, with Proton confirming its significant investment in the car, the team and infrastructure for next season. To have the programme signed off is great news and to have Proton so thoroughly behind us on this makes for a very exciting year ahead," Mellors added.

"On a more practical footing, we have already begun our testing for Monte Carlo. This week, P-G will drive the car for the first time in the Alps, where he will join our other entry for the Monte, Chris Atkinson. We've made some steps this season, but with everything in place for next we're looking to really push Proton Motorsports ahead in 2011."

Atkinson is equally enthusiastic: "Starting the season with the Monte is awesome. As a rally driver, this is the traditional place where we always start our year. I've always gone well on the event, but it is really tough," continued the ex-Subaru WRT man.

"Running high in the Alps in January, you never know what's really coming around the next corner: it could be dry asphalt, wet asphalt, snow or ice. It's a massive challenge for the team and the driver, with one of the most important aspects being to get the tyres right. I'm looking forward to continuing my strong record there with Proton.

"As for the rest of the year, it's great to have everything sorted out with a really forward-looking team like Proton. There was definitely a feeling of leaving some unfinished business in the APRC last season, so we'll be back bigger, better and stronger on some of the hottest and toughest rallies in the world next year," he concluded.



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