SUBANG JAYA: With three cars competing in the Sepang 1000km (S1k) endurance race, Proton R3 recently made headline by finishing first and second, but its all-women team also caught some limelight.
The trio behind the wheels of a Proton Saga – Leona Chin, Faye Kusairi and Nurul Husna – came home at respectable seventh, setting the benchmark for best result achieved by an all-ladies driver line-up.
What was more impressive is the fact that the team started the race from the back of the m-Production class grid.
Unlike the other R3 drivers, the team did not have prior experience of competing together in the Malaysia Championship Series (MCS).
Leona is a professional drifter and driver who has been competing in the MCS, while Faye and Nurul were selected via Proton’s lady driver search initiative.
The 2019 S1K was the first time all three shared the same car.
Despite their unfamiliarity with each other and R3, the team demonstrated consistent laptimes during practice sessions, putting them in the top eight.
Their qualifying session however was compromised by a small technical issue, consigning them to start from 26th, the last grid of the racing class.
However, after nine hours, Leona crossed the finish line and the team celebrated an improbable seventh place.
“The S1K was extremely memorable and surreal for me. I am amazed we finished seventh from 26th on the grid but it proves how quick the Proton Saga and our trio of drivers really are," said Faye Kusairi.
Gary Lee, head of team Proton R3 commented: “Our lady race drivers performed admirably and drove really well to mount a great comeback from their low grid position.
“To finish seventh in what is one of the toughest S1K races in recent memory is a great achievement and the best finish ever achieved at the race for an all-ladies driving crew.”