Andersson gets Proton seat for Monte

Double Junior World Rally champion and former factory Suzuki WRC driver P-G Andersson will drive a Proton Satria Neo S2000 on next month's Monte Carlo Rally

Andersson, who had been tipped as a possible Ford and Mini driver in next year's WRC, says he is looking forward to the Intercontinental Rally Challenge opener and will test the Proton later this month in preparation for the Monte Carlo. Current Proton driver - and former Monte podium finisher - Chris Atkinson will drive the sister Satria on the event.

Andersson said: "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.

"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."

Andersson is hoping the Proton deal can be extended beyond the opening IRC round.

"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," he added. "I'm very happy to join a team which is looking forward to a good future in the sport."

Alister McRae also remains with the Proton team next season. Along with Atkinson, he will tackle the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, with both drivers making regular IRC appearances as well.

Atkinson said: "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. 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."

The Monte Carlo starts from Valence on January 19 and finishes in Monaco on January 22.

Previous article The top 10 IRC drivers of 2010
Next article Proton certain MEM will deliver