Malaysian car manufacturer Proton will make a comeback to British Rally Championship for the first time since 2016 this season as Ollie Mellors takes part in a six-round full-season campaign in a Mellors Elliot Motorsport [MEM] Proton Iriz R5.
Mellors and co-driver Ian Windress are set to tackle all rounds of the BRC in a move that stamps the BRC as a pivotal role in their plans to reach the FIA World Rally Championship with the newly developed Iriz R5.
“As a team and a driver, we are delighted to be returning to the British Rally Championship with the Proton brand,” Ollie Mellors said.
“There is a rich heritage and strong links with the brand and the Championship, even going back to the two-wheel-drive days in the 2000s and it is very much a place that we feel the car belongs in.
“The competition will be fantastic get amongst the other manufacturers which we would essentially be competing against on the world stage. That’s exactly what we need for the Iriz R5 and I`m looking forward to seeing how it compares”.
Proton has for long time enjoyed a great relationship with the BRC which stems back to the late 1990’s when the Swedish driver Mats Andersson competed with a Satria Kit Car to win the front-wheel-drive category.
Recently in 2016 MEM fielded a Satria Neo S2000 in the BRC for Mellors, but in a time when the R5 category was flourishing, their campaign stumbled against more modern rally cars.
“Everything we have done with the Proton since we began the concept in 2017 has seen leaps and bounds in terms of progression,” Chris Mellors, MEM Director said.
“We feel the time is right to launch the Iriz in the British Championship, which we always saw as part of our further progression with the car. This is only the beginning”.
During the last three years the team have developed the Iriz R5 to be ready to tackle the stages in WRC and recently had the two-time World Rally Champion Marcus Grönholm to test the car.
“The British Rally Championship has always enticed the leading motorsport manufacturers to commit to a campaign thanks to it’s diverse events and extremely close competition” Iain Campbell, BRC Manager said.
“It’s always been a great fight for ultimate supremacy and having the Mellors Elliot Motorsport Proton squad back in the BRC is fantastic for the series.
“It’s looking like we will have a great season ahead and adding another brand with such rich rallying heritage to the championship really does raise the bar yet again.”