Having beaten the helicopter in rainy conditions a year back, during a promotional event, Atkinson was unable to make it two in a row, as the 1500bhp worth two-engine helicopter – in the hands of a professional chopper pilot – had no problem taking the honors during a sunny weather in the morning.
“We definitely had him off the line,” said Atkinson after the event, which was broadcast live on Channel Seven’s Sunrise show. “But the straights were a bit longer this time and with our car geared for the gravel roads through the forests, we sat on the rev limiter in top for about 200 metres.”
“He flew past us on the straight, but then we got back past him at the turnaround. I thought we might be able to hold him – and we did once – but on the last race there was nothing we could do. It was a pretty amazing sight to see this thing come past just above you. It was a great race.”
After a successful first outing in Malaysia, the two Proton drivers will now leave all this fun adventure behind and focus on the upcoming round of the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, scheduled only miles away from the Sunshine Coast Airport, in Queensland, 2 days from now.
“What we did this morning was a great event and a lot of fun, but the rally is why we’re here,” added the local favorite. “I like the roads here, they’re a good challenge for the drivers. It looks like they’ll be pretty dry now, but after quite a lot of rain recently, there’s certainly going to be some damp patches in there to look out for. After finishing second in this race (last year), we’re definitely looking to go one better at the weekend!”