Fresh off winning the M-Production class in the 2019 Malaysian Championship Series (MCS), Team Proton R3 are turning their sights towards the Sepang 1,000km (S1K) endurance race in November.
The dynamic duo of Fariqe Hairuman and Syafiq Ali clinched the MCS title behind the wheel of a Proton Iriz, crossing the finish line of a grueling 300km Round 5 in second spot; sufficient to take the overall championship win. Round 5 offered double points to the top-10 finishers.
It was a nostalgic feeling for Fariqe as this is his second MCS title following the maiden win in 2015; also with R3. Syafiq isn’t a stranger to victories as well, having clinched the S1K three times, though this 2019 MCS is his first.
As the curtain drops on the MCS, it isn’t time to take a break though. November beckons with the 2019 S1K and R3 are hellbent on defending their 2018 win there. If they do, it’ll be a record-breaking fifth win for the team.
The odds are ever in their favour as the team will be fielding cars with a proven track record. Aside from the MCS Iriz, R3 will be running two units of the 2019 Proton Saga in race trim; the newest stallions in its stable.
Though new to the game, the 2019 Saga was piloted by the veteran pairing of Admi Shahrul and Faidzil Alang that defended their title-chasing teammates from attacks by other cars in Round 5. Even with the rest of the field hot on their heels, they brought the Saga home in third; marking the second podium for the Saga in the last three MCS races.
As for the second Saga, it will be piloted by selected drivers from the recently-announced MSF-R3 Lady Racers Search initiative. The program offers an opportunity to lady racers to undergo development with R3; culminating in a race seat in the 2019 S1K race for selected drivers.
“R3 set out to win the MCS in 2019 and we won six consecutive races to go into Round 5 as championship leaders. Having racked up five wins, the Iriz was carrying 60kg of success ballast so our competitors had an advantage during the race. Still, we tried our best to overcome the weight penalty and win the race but in the end we finished with two podium places in second and third,” said Gary Lee, Team Principal of Proton R3.
“The team is using the newest versions of the Iriz and Saga and both have proven to be very competitive, thanks to the excellent handling capabilities of road going versions of all Proton cars. This provides R3 with a good base from which to build a racing machine and as the season has progressed our development programme has managed to deliver two cars with race winning potential,” he added.