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Ollie Mellors and Ian Windress secured a maiden national rally win for the Proton Iriz R5 since being Homologated by the FIA, taking victory by 20 seconds at last weekend’s Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages Rally, a round of the Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series (31st August) in Ludlow, Shropshire.

Mellors was fastest on all but one of the event’s five stages in the Welsh Marches and Shropshire forests with the Radnor test often used by the FIA World Rally Championship qualifier Wales Rally GB. Victory for the Thornbridge Brewery backed Proton further cements it’s capabilities as a front running international specification R5 machine.

Local ace Theo Bengry piloted his Leominster Car Auctions supported example to a worthy 18th overall with Les Forsbrook alongside. Bengry continues to adapt to modern four-wheel-drive machinery after switching back from Historic rallying and set a string of positive stage times during the day.

Mellors would head to the 160-car event fresh from victory at Goodwood Festival of Speed’s Forest Rally Stage but was conscience that the showcase event would be a far cry from the 44 miles of flat out gravel rallying in the England and Wales border. A quality entry list assembled in Ludlow with the Iriz R5 starting at number two seed.

The signs were good from the off, with Mellors setting equal fastest time on the slippery opening Haye Park test. However, he would use the following longer Radnor stage to stamp his authority on the time sheets and despite hitting a bale, he blasted the Proton 16 seconds faster through the test than anyone else to enhance his position at the top of the leader board.

The remainder of the day was a similar affair, with the Proton going fastest or equal fastest on all but the final stage, to win the popular rally by a comfortable margin. Mellors was delighted at the Iriz’ performance.

“I have to say the car was truly perfect today and there is so much more to come out of it, and me” said Mellors.

“It just seems to want to keep giving and feels great on the gravel, no matter what the surface or grip change in the stages. We have won a BTRDA round before which was back in 2018, but this is it’s first since being ratified by the FIA so it makes it even more special for the Mellors Elliot Motorsport team.

I`d also like to dedicate this win to all our friends in Malaysia, as the 31st August is Hari Merdeka – the national day of Malaysia which commemorates the Malayan Declaration of Independence back in 1957. It’s a very poignant moment that we can give Proton a rally win on this very special day for them”.

The Proton Iriz is designed, built and developed by British motorsport preparation firm Mellors Elliot Motorsport (MEM) and is the latest example to be Homologated by the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l ‘Automobile) and the only R5 to be approved in both right – and left – hand drive format.

Image credit – Chicane Media

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