Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Galli takes Bettega

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Gigi Galli won the Memorial Bettega last weekend ahead of Toni Gardemeister and Chris Atkinson. Galli was again back in action with the Bozian Racing prepared Peugeot 307, with the bright yellow livery of Pirelli Competizioni. Setting the fastest times on three of the event's five stages, Galli competed with his 2007 season in mind.

"I am delighted with this second consecutive success at Bologna," said Galli. "After the optimum results achieved in the Peugeot 307 WRC on Pirelli in various rounds of the world rally championship this year, winning the Memorial Bettega is always very pleasing. The P Zero K6s gave me a tremendous amount of traction on both the loose and asphalt, which was most certainly not the surface for which they were developed, further proof of their quality. As far as I am personally concerned, I hope this victory will earn me a valid programme for 2007, like the one Pirelli Competizioni quickly put together this year."

-article: WRC.com
-photo: Race&Motion

Monday, December 18, 2006

Team Repsol-Mitsubishi-Ralliart is ready to take on the grueling 2007 Dakar Rally

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Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) and its motorsport unit MMSP have completed their preparations for a potential seventh successive defence of their Dakar Rally title, after a hectic 10 days of physical training, team bonding, light-hearted motorsport competition and testing in France.

After completing a four-day physical training and team bonding session at Douarnenez in Brittany last week, team drivers Stéphane Peterhansel and Joan ’Nani’ Roma took part in the prestigious 2006 Race of Champions at Stade de France in Paris on Saturday, December 16th, while team mates Luc Alphand and Hiroshi Masuoka took part in the Trophy Luc Alphand at Serre Chevalier in French Alpes.

MMSP are bidding to win the Dakar Rally for an unprecedented 12th time in January. Key team members spent Monday, January 18th at Le Creusot, in the center of France, carrying out the final official shakedown test on the four Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolutions that the Japanese manufacturer hopes will culminate in another Dakar success in the team’s 25th anniversary year of taking part in the world’s most famous off-road motorsport event.

In front of a partisan crowd of 51,000 people at the Stade de France, Peterhansel and Roma were both eliminated from the 2006 Race of Champions at the quarter-final stage. Peterhansel joined Yvan Muller in Team Auto Hebdo France, while Roma linked up with WRC driver Dani Sordo in Team Spain in a light-hearted, traditional finale to the 2006 motorsporting calendar year.

While Peterhansel and Roma were taking part in the Race of Champions, Luc Alphand and Hiroshi Masuoka were joined at the Alpine town of Serre-Chevaliers ・Alphand’s home town - by co-drivers Lucas Cruz, Jean-Paul Cottret, Gilles Picard and Pascal Maimon to take part in the Trophy Alphand, organized by Luc Alphand Aventures.

Key Mitsubishi team members were joined by VIPs, sponsors and invited guests to take part in go-karting and buggy racing on ice on Saturday, December 16th, with several individuals taking part in a skiing competition the following day.

There was no respite in the hectic pre-Christmas, final preparations for the Dakar Rally. All four drivers and Dakar-specification cars were present at the Le Creusot test on Monday. According to MMSP’s Technical Director Thierry Viardot, each of the drivers had between 15km and 50km behind the wheel of their respective Dakar MPR13 cars and technicians checked various suspension geometry and clutch components.

"Everything went well and perfectly according to plan," said Viardot. "We made some tests with suspension geometry on Stéphane’s car and checks with new and spare clutches to make sure they were bedded in, but everything was fine. Now we can focus on the Dakar."

MMSP’s Team President Isao Torii has also played an integral part in the pre-Dakar preparations: "I took part in the physical training for two days. Then I attended the Race of Champions in Paris and also the shakedown test on Monday," said Torii. "Everything was fine with the test and the last days were chances for me to see the great spirit, motivation and preparation that this team has put into preparing for the Dakar Rally.

"I also spent time with the mechanics at the workshops in Pont-de-Vaux and have seen the preparation of the logistics team and the mechanics in France. Everything has gone according to plan and I am very proud of the whole team. Now we are ready, focused and looking forward to Lisbon."

Managing and Sporting Director Dominique Serieys is upbeat about the team’s preparations after another hectic and diverse week of activities for the MMSP team. "Everyone is very positive, focused and working well as a team unit," said Serieys. "We have had many events recently to bring the team together. We will spend the next few days making sure the cars are completely ready and then the whole team will be able to enjoy a deserved break over Christmas before the Dakar."

The 2007 Dakar Rally will start for the second successive season from the Portuguese capital of Lisbon on Saturday, January 6th.

Scrutineering and documentation take place in Lisbon on January 4th and 5th, before a capacity entry of cars, bikes and trucks head south through Portugal and on towards Africa. The event will finish in Dakar, Sénégal, on Sunday, January 21st.

Team Repsol-Mitsubishi-Ralliart


4th Generation Shogun (Pajero/Montero) for UK in March 2007

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·Arrives in the UK 1st March 2007
·Evolutionary fourth generation Shogun retains its authentic terrain-busting characteristics for drivers wanting reliable and cost-effective go-anywhere ability
·Carry-over pricing despite significant upgrades in luxury features and safety
·Prices range from £22,949 to £34,999
·Powered by revised version of Mitsubishi’s 3.2-litre turbo diesel engine with common rail technology, and a choice of five-speed automatic or manual transmission.
·Seven-seater comfort available in the long-wheelbase Shogun with its innovative ‘Hide&Seat’ third row of seats
·Familiar Equippe, Warrior and Elegance line-up topped by luxury new Diamond flagship model
·6000 sales anticipated in first 12 months

Mitsubishi Motors fourth generation Shogun off-roader, which arrives on 1st March 2007, is a progressive evolution that combines authentic four-wheel-drive go-anywhere ability with bold and muscular new styling, complemented by Euro IV-compliant turbo diesel power and the choice of either a three-door short or five-door long-wheelbase chassis.

Despite minimal carry over of parts, a mere 26%, the new Shogun is immediately distinguished by its bold new grille, short front overhang, upright windscreen, strong high flanks, flared wheelarches and rear-mounted spare wheel – all key Shogun style cues that underline its tough, authentic, off-road ability.

As well as option of three or five doors, Shogun buyers will have the choice of a four model line-up – the familiar Equippe, Warrior and Elegance models as well as the new luxury Diamond range topper. As always, the Shogun comes packed with an array of standard safety and luxury equipment. All models come with ASTC active stability and traction control, alarm and keyless entry, climate control, twin front, side and curtain airbags, ABS anti-lock brakes backed up by EBD electronic brakeforce distribution and 17inch alloy wheels fitted as standard.

The list of standard features may be much longer but pricing for the new Shogun remains unchanged, emphasising Mitsubishi Motors value-for-money policy. Prices range from £22,949 for the three-door Equippe model through to £34,999 for the five-door Diamond model.

The new Mitsubishi Shogun draws on 70 years of off-road heritage that includes an unbeaten 11 Paris-Dakar rally wins. Its monocoque chassis with built-in ladder frame offers both peerless off-road ability and responsive on-road driving dynamics. Using a higher number of key spot-welds, additional structural adhesives and a greater use of high-tensile steel has significantly stiffened the chassis, while the level of anti-corrosive zinc plating is significantly higher than before. The result is a quieter, safer and more dynamic basis for the double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension, now fitted with uprated springs and dampers.

Key to the Shogun’s off-road ability is its AWC all-wheel control system, complemented by Mitsubishi’s Super Select 4 II transfer case. Using a centre differential lock, that splits torque 33:67 front to rear, Super Select 4 II offers four driving modes – 2H rear-wheel drive, 4H full time four-wheel drive, 4HLc which locks up the centre differential, and 4LLC for extreme low ratio off-road work.

Beneath the Shogun’s bonnet sits a heavily revised version of Mitsubishi’s acclaimed 3.2-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel engine. Now featuring an advanced high-pressure common rail fuel injection system, the 3200cc unit produces 168bhp at 3800rpm and a hefty 373Nm of torque at 2000rpm when hooked up to Mitsubishi Motors INVECS-II automatic gearbox with sequential ‘Sports Mode’. In models fitted with the Shogun’s revised five-speed manual transmission, outputs are 158bhp at 3800rpm and 381Nm at 2000rpm. As well as being more powerful and more economical, the engine is also significantly quieter and more refined, with noise levels reduced by an average of four decibels across the rev-range.

The lighter short-wheelbase Shogun comes with 290mm front and 300mm rear disc brakes gripped by two-pot calipers, while the heavier long-wheelbase gets larger 332mm discs at the front and rear, with four-pot caliper up front and two-pot at the rear. This braking system is enhanced by ASTC active stability and traction control that uses variable torque distribution and individual wheel braking to enhance traction, stability and safety.

The Shogun’s interior – from its A-pillar grab-handles to its lofty driving position – reflects its rugged authentic all-season ability. The all-new cabin architecture features a contemporary integrated centre console that houses a Multi-Information Center Display for the climate and audio controls. Particular attention has been paid to creating a robust feeling within the cabin, with an intuitive layout and easily understood graphics and instruments.

At 4385mm long, 1875mm wide and 1880mm high, the short-wheelbase three-door Shogun combines dynamic, athletic styling with a spacious and comfortable cabin. The long-wheelbase version (4900mm long, 1875mm wide and 1990mm high) features Mitsubishi Motors innovative ‘Hide&Seat’ system that quickly and easily converts the Shogun from a five to a seven-seater. When additional seating is required, two seats quickly and easily fold out from the boot floor to create a third row of seats, complete with integrated head rests.

Since its debut in 1982, Mitsubishi has produced 2.5million Shogun models, with 92,954 sold in the UK. The Mitsubishi Shogun is a car that inspires exceptional brand loyalty, with seven in ten customers retaining a Shogun. In its first full year of sales, Mitsubishi Motors expects to sell 6000 Shogun models, with the long-wheelbase version accounting for over tow thirds of sales. Some 65% of total sales will be the high-end specification Elegance and Diamond models.


1280x1024 Wallpaper

-Mitsubishi UK

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Mitsubishi Motors Will Debut Two Models at NAIAS

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Prototype X and the 2008 Lancer Lead Lineup

December 17, 2006 -- Cypress, Calif. --
The highly anticipated Mitsubishi Motors Prototype X and its street-legal sibling, the all-new Lancer, will debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on January 8, 2008. Mr. Takashi Nishioka, chairman of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Hiroshi Harunari, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (MMNA) will brief the media at the press conference in the Mitsubishi display in Detroit's Cobo Hall on Monday, January 8, 2007 at 1:55 p.m. EST.

Prototype X hints at the next production version of the world-renowned Mitsubishi Motors rally-winning Lancer Evolution, which will be released later in 2007. The high performance engine, excellent dynamics and striking design will appeal to enthusiasts worldwide - for those who desire a daily driver with street credentials as well as those anticipating weekend club or rally performance. The Prototype X is closely related to the all-new 2008 Lancer, which also makes its show debut in Detroit.
The first 2008 Mitsubishi model to debut is the all-new Lancer compact sport sedan, delivering driven-to-thrill dynamics, "class-up" value, advanced safety and available cutting-edge user-technology in an aggressively styled package. The new-generation Lancer models arrive in Mitsubishi dealerships in early 2007.

The 2007 models on display will include: the all-new Outlander, Endeavor, Galant, Eclipse, Eclipse Spyder and Raider models. Specialty vehicles on display will be the Baja Raider, which roared to victory in the Stock Mini class at the 2006 Baja 1000 and the Endeavor SE Concept, revealed at the SEMA show in November.


Saturday, December 16, 2006

New Outlander for Germany in February 2007

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The new Mitsubishi Outlander, developed under the Global Platform with Daimler Chrysler, has been in the Market since 2005 in Japan, and has been recently introduced in the US, Asia Pacific, and Southeast Asia, will soon be available in the UK, the rest of Europe and Russia.

In Germany, the new Outlander will be powered by a 2.0 Liter Direct Injected Diesel engine. The rear emblems of the vehicle will vary from those of UK and will reflect the DiD emblem. It is planned to go on sale in February 2007.

Mitsubishi has reached maximum prodcution at their Mizushima plant, where the Outlanders for Japan domestic market and those for export to the US are being made. Recently Mitsubishi announced that it will further increase production of the new Outlander by expanding its assembly line to the Okazaki plant, where most of the vehicles made will be exported to the UK, the rest of Europe, and Russia.


New Mitsubishi Oulander with "Mt. Fuji" grille for EU market

The "Outlander" emblem is on the left side while a "DiD" emblem is placed on the right.

-news: rcpax
-photos: Mitsubishi Motors

2007 Mitsubishi Outlander for UK market

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* On sale in the UK 1st March 2007
* Distinctively styled five-door crossover vehicle combining estate car versatility, rugged off-road styling, safety-oriented all-wheel drive ability and athletic dynamics
* Priced from £19,449 to £24,749
* Powered initially by a new 138bhp 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine, with a 154bhp 2.2 turbo diesel and all-new 168bhp 2.4-litre petrol engine arriving at the end of the year
* One-step fold-and-tumble second row seats
* Innovative ‘Hide and Seat’ third row of seats for occasional 5+2 seating
* Familiar Equippe, Warrior and Elegance line-up that combine high specification with wallet-friendly pricing
* Anticipated 5,600 sales in first 12 months

When Mitsubishi’s all-new Outlander arrives in showrooms on 1st March it will enter the UK’s fiercely competitive mid-sized SUV sector armed with fresh new styling, all-new chassis architecture, Euro IV-compliant turbo diesel power, electronically controlled all-wheel drive, seven-seat versatility, generous levels of standard safety and luxury specification and a low £19,449 start-off price.

With styling clearly inspired by the 2002 Pajero Evo 2+2 concept, the new Outlander is instantly identifiable as a member of Mitsubishi Motors’ rejuvenated line-up of new models. Key design points are its bold grille flanked by a set of piercing headlamps, that create a strong visual link with the new Shogun and L200 pick-up, the distinctively slashed back third side window, boldly flared wheel arches and split tailgate.

The Outlander sits on a new platform frame, Mitsubishi’s first-ever global platform, developed in conjunction with DaimlerChrysler. Light and stiff, the chassis along with the MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension and rack and pinion steering, has been tuned to deliver an engaging and sure-footed driving experience. For example, the Outlander’s roof is made of lightweight aluminium to lower the car’s centre of gravity, and in turn reduce roll and boost cornering agility.

Key to this driver-orientation is Mitsubishi Motors’ rally-inspired AWC All Wheel Control four-wheel drivetrain. With a simple twist of a dial mounted on the cabin’s centre console, the Outlander driver can electronically select three driving modes: 2WD front-wheel drive for economy-biased every day driving, 4WD Auto which instantly and effectively transfers torque to the wheels with the most grip up to a 70:30 split, and 4WD Lock which splits torque up to a 50:50 split between front and rear axle as and when required when driving in more difficult conditions. The AWC system has been designed with enhanced on-road stability and safety in mind, as well as allowing the Outlander to tackle wet, snowy or muddy tracks and undertake towing duties.

Like the Grandis, the Outlander is powered by a Volkswagen-sourced 1968cc intercooled turbo diesel four-cylinder engine. Featuring an advanced common rail injection system and a variable geometry turbo charger, it produces 138bhp at 4000rpm and a healthy 310Nm of torque at 1750rpm. Naturally, it meets demanding Euro IV emission regulations. Hooked up to a six-speed manual transmission with ratios developed to tap into the engine’s deep torque reservoir, the Outlander sprints to 62mph in 10.8seconds and has a maximum speed of 116mph. It’s fitted with 294mm ventilated disc brakes up front and 302mm disc brakes at the rear, backed up by ABS anti-lock and EBD electronic brakeforce distribution systems.

In the Equippe model, the engine returns 42.8mpg on the combined cycle (40.9mpg in the Warrior and Elegance models) and posts a tax-effective CO2 figure of 174g/km (183g/km for the Warrior and Elegance models). Towards the end of the year, the powertrain line-up will be bolstered by the arrival of a more powerful 154bhp 2.2 turbo diesel four-cylinder engine as well as the first iteration of Mitsubishi’s ‘World Engine’, an all-new 168bhp 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine developed in collaboration with DaimlerChrysler and Hyundai Motor Company. It will come with a six-speed CVT constantly variable transmission as standard.

The Outlander’s cabin design reflects its sporting aspirations, with a number of motorcycle motifs like its deeply cowled instruments and the arching centre console that’s reminiscent of a motorbike’s fuel tank. Particular attention has been paid to the quality of the plastics, leathers and fabrics used, and their fit and finish.

Outlander will offer an outstanding degree of packaging flexibility. At 4640mm long, 1800mm wide and 1680mm high (1720mm with roof rails) Outlander casts a smaller shadow than many traditional family estates, while still offering a spacious and well proportioned five-seater cabin with generous head, leg and shoulder room. A split tailgate, capable of supporting 200kg, provides easy access to the large and regularly shaped 541-litre boot, which can be extended to a vast 1691-litres with the second row of seats folded away.
Outlander owners won’t have to follow any complicated routines to fold down the seats – by holding down a small button secreted in the side of the boot for three seconds, the second row seats electrically flip forward to create a flat load bay for accommodating larger objects. This feature is standard on all derivatives. This versatility is further boosted on Warrior and Elegance models by Mitsubishi’s innovative ‘Hide&Seat’ third row of seats, which lies beneath the floor of the boot. When two further seats are needed, they simply fold out from the boot floor to create a third row of seats, complete with integrated head rests, turning the five-seater Outlander into an occasional seven-seater as and when needed.

As with all Mitsubishi vehicles, the new Outlander will combine generous levels of standard luxury and safety specifications with an aggressive pricing policy. The model line-up starts with the £19,449 Equippe, which comes with twin front airbags, air conditioning, keyless entry, six-speaker CD/MP3 player, ASTC Active Stability and Traction Control safety system, electric windows and mirrors, and rear spoiler as standard.

To this, the £21,999 Warrior adds, among other features, 18inch alloy wheels, ‘Hide&Seat’ folding third row seats, side and curtain airbags, a striking body kit, cruise control, Bluetooth handsfree telephone kit and a leather-covered steering wheel and gearlever. The flagship Elegance model adds heated leather seats, sunroof, satellite navigation complete with its own 30GB music server and hard disc drive for high speed data access, DVD player and a nine-speaker 650W Rockford FosgateTM Premium Sound System, as well as numerous other standard features.

Mitsubishi expects to sell around 5,600 Outlanders in the UK within the first 12 months of sales – some 10% of the annual UK mid-sized SUV market. At 60%, the Warrior range will account for the bulk of sales, with the Elegance model appealing to 30% of buyers and the remainder opting for the budget-conscious Equippe.


-Mitsubishi Motors

Friday, December 15, 2006

Henning Solberg will drive for Ford in 2007

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Henning Solberg and Malcolm Wilson

Confirmed in Oslo this lunchtime (14 December) is that Henning Solberg and co-driver Cato Menkerud will drive a Ford Focus WRC on all world championship events in 2007, as part of a Ford Manufacturers' Team (M2) entry. The car will appear in the orange colours of Team Expert, and will be part of a two-year agreement between Henning and the Norwegian based electronics retail company Expert.

M-Sport chief Malcolm Wilson said, "It is a pleasure to be working with Henning and Cato again. Since driving with us in 2005, they have proved capable of finishing (world rallies) on the podium (Turkey 2006)". Wilson stated that the name of the world championship team under which Henning will run, and the identity of Henning's team-mate, have not yet been decided, but will be given to the FIA tomorrow (15 December) when registrations effective for Rallye Automobile Monte Carlo have to be declared. Following assurances already given by Ford in relation to their primary BP-Ford team, Citroen Sport and Subaru, also earlier today the news from Mitsubishi, this will be the fifth confirmed entry for the 2007 season.


Travis Pastrana goes WRC

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Subaru Rally Team USA's Travis Pastrana has announced a three year program which will see the young American star contesting WRC events as early as 2007, culminating with a full FIA Production car World Rally Championship bid in 2008 and 2009. Pastrana will also continue his Rally America campaign in an effort to defend the title he won this year.

Subaru Rally Team USA announced today that it will contest three Group N events in 2007 with Pastrana at the helm of a Subaru Impreza. The team looks to be the first American company to run an American driver in international rally competition. Though the events which Pastrana will contest have not been confirmed, a source at Vermont SportsCar, the company which prepares the Imprezas for the Subaru Rally Team USA, stated that initial planning indicates Corona Rally Mexico, Rallye Argentina and Wales Rally GB as the three events.

"Our recently announced 3-year extension with Travis Pastrana as a driver for Subaru Rally Team USA shows our commitment to Travis, the Rally America National Championship, and the sport of rally," said James Han of Subaru of America, Inc. "The prospect of developing a driving talent such as Travis with the goal of having an American compete successfully at the WRC level is an exciting one. Although the team's primary objective in 2007 will be to retain the Rally America title in our Subaru Impreza WRX STI rally cars, evaluating development opportunities for Travis is also a key priority."

The next outing for Pastrana in a rally car will be this weekend at the Race of Champions, where he will represent America's rally talent against the likes of Sebastien Loeb and Marcus Gronholm.


Mitsubishi opens production of the "Outlander" SUV at Okazaki plant

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Production launch of "Outlander" SUV at Okazaki plant

Tokyo, December 15, 2006 — Mitsubishi Motors Corporation today announced that it starts production of "Outlander" SUV at Okazaki plant, located in Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture. Okazaki plant will produce 29,000 units of "Outlander" in the second half of fiscal year 2006 mainly for North America, Russia and Japanese markets.

Mizushima plant has been producing its model so far, but due to robust growth in sales of domestic mini-cars and export models, the plant's production capacity has reached maximum level. Transferring a part of "Outlander" production will ease current production condition of overloaded Mizushima plant.

Mitsubishi Motors celebrated production launch of "Outlander" at Okazaki plant today. President Masuko made remarks during the ceremony, "This is an impressive moment to celebrate a new start of Okazaki plant, however we also need to reaffirm that we are still on a passing point on the execution of the revitalization plan. I would like to ask all the employees here today to challenge forward to create Okazaki plant's new history."

Okazaki plant had been operated with one-shift from April 2004; its operation shift is changed to two-shift for the first time in the past 32 months.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Introducing the Next Generation 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer

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December 11, 2006 -- Cypress, Calif. --
Mitsubishi Motors North America (MMNA) will introduce, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January, the all-new, 2008 Lancer compact sport sedan, delivering driven-to-thrill dynamics, "class-up" value, advanced safety and available cutting-edge user-technology in an aggressively styled package. The new-generation Lancer models arrive in Mitsubishi dealerships in early 2007.

The 2008 Lancer brings the bold, dynamic lines of the show-stopping Mitsubishi Concept-X to the showroom. First shown in 2005, the stunning Concept X previewed not only the next generation Mitsubishi compact sport sedan, but also a new design language to convey an unmistakable brand identity. A "shark-nosed" front end inspired by jet fighter air intakes, a distinct wedge-like profile and crisp, taut lines highlight the Lancer's exciting new design.

The 2008 Lancer is based on a new performance-engineered global platform that also forms the foundation of the new Mitsubishi Outlander SUV. It has a longer wheelbase and wider track, but slightly shorter overall length than the previous model. All Lancer models are powered by an all-new 2.0-liter 152 hp aluminum DOHC MIVEC 4-cylinder engine (143 hp PZEV in Calif.) teamed to a 5-speed manual transmission. The new Lancer is the first Mitsubishi in North America to offer an optional continuously variable transmission (CVT). When equipped with the CVT, the Lancer GTS exclusively features a 6-step Sportronic(R) mode using magnesium steering wheel paddle shifters.

The 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer will be available in three levels of trim and driving dynamics: DE, ES and the sport-tuned GTS.

Key Specifications
Wheelbase: 103.7 in
Length: 180.0 in.
Height: 58.7 in.
Width: 69.4 in.
Curb weight range: (DE w/ 5-speed) to 3,109 lbs. (GTS w/ CVT)

Delica D:5 to run the 07 Dakar

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Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports, in its participation in the 2007 Lisbon-Dakar Rally, will enter the Mitsubishi Delica D:5 as its service vehicle. The new production model Delica D:5 was introduced in Japan this year, and is currently available in the Japanese market only.

The service vehicles in the Dakar Rally provides quick support to the competition vehicles, which will be four Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution MPR13. They are meant to be fast support vehicles to provide quick service, while waiting for the support trucks.

In the previous Dakar rallies, the service vehicles used were production model Mitsubishi Pajeros. This year MMSP has given this job to the new Delica D:5. The production model will be modified to include safety features as well as necessary modification to several critical components to withstand the grueling Dakar rally.

The Dakar Rally starts in Lisbon, Portugal on January 5, 2007. Mitsubishi Motors is hoping to clinch their 12 outright win, making it their 7th successive win in the Dakar.

Delica D:5

Delica D:5 Dakar Service Vehicle

-photos: MMSP

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Citroen C2 and C4 "by Loeb" Special Editions

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Citroën is launching two new special series models with one, unique signature, the C2 and C4 “by LOEB”

Marking Citroën’s return to the World Rally Championship in 2007, the special series lends a new dimension to the personality of both vehicles.

The C2 by LOEB and C4 by LOEB both have a strong sporty attitude and stand apart with their attractive trim.Based on the C2 and C4 Coupé models, their difference lies in special equipment and the renown of the “by LOEB” label.

The “by LOEB” special series is part of the Marque’s ambitious range renewal policy, but first and foremost enables Citroën to honour and thank the three-time WRC champion, in 2004, 2005 and 2006, whose numerous triumphs serve to enhance the brand’s image.

-photo WRC.com
-news Citroen

Friday, December 8, 2006

Skoda moves to Super 2000

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In a pair of announcements issued today (Wednesday), Skoda has announced that the Red Bull Skoda team will not take part in the 2007 FIA World Rally Championship and that the company will instead spend the year developing a Super 2000 variant of the new Fabia, to be launched next year.

Jan Kopecky

The Skoda Board of Directors has approved a plan to develop the Super 2000 Fabia throughout 2007 with a view to it being introduced at a later date. It sees Super 2000 as an attractive category of the sport and aims to produce a car which will be attractive to privateers or up and coming talents, both nationally and internationally.

Skoda becomes the fifth manufacturer to commit to Super 2000, which from 2007 will run alongside Group N in the production car World Rally Championship. Cars from Fiat and Toyota have already been homologated and appeared on the WRC, notably Alister McRae's debut of the Toyota Corolla S20000R on the recent Wales Rally GB, setting several fastest Group N stage times.

Examples from Volkswagen and Peugeot are expected to be homologated in 1 January 2007 while Renault also developed one car but this project has been shelved as the company concentrates on Formula One. There is also a Lada S2000 running in its native land but there is no indication of whether this will reach international competition.

Ford has also recently confirmed it is looking into developing a S2000 car for the privateer market, although it stressed it was no more than a feasibility study at this stage.

Jan Kopecky

The withdrawal of the Red Bull Skoda team from the WRC means that Czech driver Jan Kopecky will fly the Skoda flag in the 2007 WRC, with continued support from the manufacturer. However, it also means that at the moment, Harri Rovanpera and Andreas Aigner are without a drive. Red Bull has confirmed that it is seeking a position for Aigner but no mention is made in the team statements about Rovanpera.

Andreas Aigner


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Evolander unveiled at 2006 Los Angeles Auto Show

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Mitsubishi Motors Puts The Spotlight On The All-New 2007 Outlander At The Los Angeles Auto Show

Full Mitsubishi model lineup also on display including the Vishnu Flex-Fuel Lancer Evolution, Evolander and Baja Raider

November 29, 2006 -- CYPRESS, Calif. --
The all-new, second-generation 2007 Outlander is the center of attention at the Mitsubishi Motors booth at the Los Angeles Auto Show November 28 through December 10. The larger 2007 Outlander, in Mitsubishi dealerships now, offers a compelling blend of driven-to-thrill dynamics, bold styling, five- or seven-passenger versatility, plus numerous user-technology firsts for the compact SUV segment. Sharing the spotlight is a corn-fed Lancer Evolution, a performance driven Evolander and the newly crowned champion Baja Raider.

Adding to this year's line-up, the mid-size Galant Ralliart is a bold challenger to the sport sedan establishment and features freshened styling and refined driving dynamics for 2007. Both the Galant and the Endeavor sport-utility vehicle bolster their segment-leading safety performance with new standard safety technology.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary year in the United States, Mitsubishi is focused on offering vehicles that deliver the essence of the brand with standout design, performance that's well-rounded but with a definite edge, advanced yet usable technology and proven quality. In addition, Mitsubishi continues to back its vehicles with one of the best warranties in the industry.

2007 Outlander: More Sport, More Utility

The all-new 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander models are powered exclusively by a new 3.0-liter 220-hp aluminum MIVEC V-6 engine teamed to a six-speed Sportronic(R) automatic transmission (with magnesium steering wheel paddle shifters in XLS models). The Outlander will be the first PZEV-certified V-6 SUV offered in the U.S.

The 2007 Outlander is based on a new performance-engineered global platform that will also form the foundation of the next-generation Mitsubishi Lancer and Lancer Evolution models. The Outlander also previews new design language for Mitsubishi and strongly hints at the performance potential of this new platform.

Each of the three trim lines offered for the 2007 Outlander - the value-minded ES, the well equipped LS and the sport/luxury XLS - come standard with front-wheel drive and Active Skid and Traction Control (ASTC). The LS and XLS models are available with an optional electronically controlled 4-wheel drive system - All-Wheel Control (AWC). Mitsubishi's All-Wheel Control philosophy for Outlander combines sophisticated electronically controlled 4-wheel drive with ASTC and a tuned 4-wheel independent suspension, plus an aluminum roof that lowers the center of gravity for better handling response. On Outlander XLS models, standard 18-in. aluminum-alloy wheels further underscore this model's fun-to-drive credentials.

Outlander's sporty interior features deeply contoured front bucket seats and a unique odor-defeating head liner. The versatile second row seat combines independently reclining 60/40 split fold-and-tumble seat backs and 60/40 seat cushions that offer a 3.15-in. slide range. Overall cargo volume behind the front seats measures 72.6 cu in. On XLS models, the standard underfloor-stowable compact third row seat folds flat into the floor when not needed. When lowered, the flap-fold tailgate can also serve as a seat for outdoor activities, with a capacity of 440 lbs. ft.

Standard safety features for all Outlander models include an advanced dual front air bag supplemental restraint system (SRS) with occupant sensors, standard front seat-mounted side-impact air bags and side curtain air bags (front and second row), plus energy-absorbing head protection interior pillars, an anti-lock braking system (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), and a tire pressure monitoring system.

Outlander offers user technology formerly seen only in luxury-brand SUVs. The standard FAST (Freehand Advanced Security Transmitter) Key entry system on Outlander XLS allows passive vehicle unlocking and engine start/stop by carrying the remote control.

High-tech options for Outlander include a hard disc drive (HDD) 30-gigabyte navigation system with music server; a 650-watt Rockford-Fosgate(R) Premium Audio system with digital signal processing; SIRIUS(R) Satellite Radio with six month pre-paid subscription; hands-free calling through Bluetooth(R) wireless technology, and a DVD rear seat entertainment system with a nine-inch wide-format LCD screen.

Vishnu Flex-Fuel Lancer Evolution

The Vishnu Flex-Fuel Lancer Evolution began life as a premium-unleaded-burning high performance Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR sedan. Shiv Pathak of Vishnu Performance Systems sought to explore the power-making potential of E85 fuel, and what could be done, with minimal hardware modifications, to increase the output of the Lancer Evolution's turbocharged 4G63 engine. Ethanol fuel contains less potential energy than an equivalent quantity of gasoline, but with a turbocharged vehicle like Lancer Evolution, this did not need to be a disadvantage.

Vishnu tuning modified the fuel system with a higher volume fuel pump and larger injectors to deliver the additional quantity of ethanol fuel that this engine requires. Because of the chemical differences between the two fuels, the turbocharged, four-cylinder engine requires about 30% more ethanol fuel at a given power level than it does on gasoline. A considerable amount of detailed work went into reprogramming of the engine's ECU, revising the fuel and spark timing maps to operate efficiently with E85 fuel. A toggle switch allows the vehicle to select between either ethanol or gasoline. Dynamometer testing indicates that output on E85 (100 octane) is 420 horsepower and output on premium unleaded (91 octane) is 390 horsepower.

The detonation resistance of E85 ethanol fuel allows the engine to utilize more aggressive spark and fuel curves to create additional power with lower cylinder temperatures. As the Vishnu Flex-Fuel Evolution continues its development, higher power levels will certainly be achieved as the ethanol fuel is ideal for very high boost levels.


Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (MMNA) addresses the tuner market by presenting an exciting new Evolander concept vehicle, the off-road race-ready Baja Raider truck, the Feast Audio “i” minicar, the LOUD-lander by Rockford Fosgate and several new Special Edition models at the 2006 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show.

“The Evolander builds upon the reputation that the Lancer Evolution sedan has built among tuners and car enthusiasts. Like the Evo, the Evolander boasts a forced induction engine, electronic all-wheel drive, and a tuned suspension that deliver on its Evo-ness,” said Dan Sims, managing director of Mitsubishi Research and Design America. “A vehicle like Evolander, which blends Evolution-style design cues and sport SUV themes, might help inspire tuners to apply their wares to the compact SUV segment.”

Headlining the marquee of Mitsubishi’s SEMA display is the Evolander concept. This unique vehicle, created by the Mitsubishi Research and Design of America (MRDA) team in Cypress, California started life as a 2007 Outlander, which is an all-new addition to Mitsubishi’s line-up that goes on sale in November. The creative minds at MRDA sought to infuse the Evolander concept with performance elements and design cues inspired by Mitsubishi’s omnipotent, race-ready, super-sedan, the Lancer Evolution. An exploratory concept, the Evolander represents the design and engineering possibilities of what could be an Outlander Ralliart production model in the future.

For the Evolander, the output of the Outlander’s 3.0-liter V6 engine (normally rated at 220 hp) swells to 300 hp with the help of an ATI/Roadrace Engineering Procharger system that uses a centrifugal compressor to produce 6 psi of boost. The increased power is fed through a 6-speed automatic transmission that is actuated by the same magnesium-alloy paddle shifters that will be equipped on the next generation performance model. The Evolander puts power to pavement using Mitsubishi’s newest electronically-controlled AWD system offering exceptional, rally-car like roadholding in an SUV. The list of Evolander’s dynamic enhancements also includes a Roadrace Engineering/Muellerized coilover suspension system that enhances handling to help dice corners with precision and exceptional control. The Evolander rides on lightweight 20-inch OZ wheels wrapped in high performance Yokohama Advan ST performance rubber. Brembo’s new 6-piston monobloc-style brakes squeeze massive cross-drilled front rotors, and a set of cross-drilled rear rotors were added to help bring the vehicle to a swift, safe sudden halt.

The Evolander’s exterior design follows along an “urban performance” theme, and shares several characteristics with the Lancer Evolution sedan. The Evolander’s fascia design mimics that of the Evolution vehicles with its cavernous cooling and brake duct intakes and an aggressively vented hood. The Lancer Evolution also lends its iconic, rally-inspired, box flares to the Evolander, increasing the width of the vehicle at the fenders by 28 mm. The Evolander also features a more aggressive aerodynamic treatment, with lowered side sills, fender vents, a rear diffuser and a Ralliart rear spoiler that add a “sporty urban” look to the SUV.

The Evolander’s stylish interior fuses sporting elements of Evolution with the technology features found on Outlander. Recaro Sport form fitting, reclining racing seats cradle and support driver and passenger helping improve a driver’s seating position and vehicle control during aggressive driving. The interior still maintains full use of the 2007 Outlander’s new 30 GB hard-drive navigation system (with 1200 song music storage capability), as well as the rear DVD entertainment system, and the eardrum-rattling Rockford Fosgate 650 watt audio system.

Baja Raider

The Mitsubishi Motors display at the 2006 SEMA Show also features the Baja Raider, a competition version of the Raider truck campaigned by DXR (Desert Xtreme Racing). The Baja Raider will compete in the SCORE Stock Mini category at the Baja 1000 (November 16th), which closely regulates the modifications that can be made to this relatively showroom-stock class of off-road race truck. For the Stock Mini class, rules require that vehicle’s V6 drivetrains remain mostly factory specification while various other chassis modifications are permitted to the truck such as suspension and safety enhancements. Consistent with the class rules, the Baja Raider sports a rugged 3.7-liter V6 under the hood; the engine receives basic induction and exhaust enhancements to improve response. The Baja Raider’s transmission and 4WD system relies on the same durable hardware found on a showroom Raider.

The suspension revisions will allow the Baja Raider to maintain a swift pace over the harsh terrain of the Baja peninsula. The front suspension’s travel is maximized and dampened with the help of King Customs 2.5-inch coilover racing shocks and triple bypass racing shocks to help control wheel travel over the harshest terrain. At the rear of the Baja Raider, the truck’s solid rear axle is supported by King custom 3” triple-valved race shocks, Deaver racing leaf springs and Mastercraft limit straps.

A tireless attention to detail is evident in the Stock Mini class Baja Raider which is the result of about 1200+ man-hours of preparation. Tireless also describes the behind-the-wheel iron-man effort we can expect to see from DXR’s Dan Fresh who will drive the entire length of the Baja 1000 course without a co-driver. With 10 years of competition under his belt, Fresh is no stranger to the rigors of desert racing and has enjoyed several class championships as well as previous success in the Baja 1000. “The Baja 1000 is about as grueling a challenge as off-road racing can offer,” said Fresh. “That desert certainly tests equipment, it is also a contest of skill, preparation, determination and guile. There are no easy victories in the Baja, and we feel can be very competitive with the Baja Raider.”

LOUD-lander by Rockford Fosgate

Simply put, LOUD-lander is the world’s loudest Outlander. Harnessing 2700 watts of total system power through 18 speakers, LOUD-lander practically weaponizes a vehicle’s “sound system.” Rumor has it that at full song the LOUD-lander’s sonic fury is capable of loosening dental fillings and deforming contact lenses. This epic audio system relies on five amplifiers (two 450 watt units and three 600 watt units) to power twelve Rockford Fosgate Punch P162S 6 ¾ inch speakers and six Rockford Fosgate Punch P215S4 15” sub woofers. Both the speakers and the subwoofers are constructed using a molded polypropylene cone mated to a stamped steel frame for improved durability, deep, consistent bass and high performance. The LOUD-lander’s awesome power is enhanced with a Rockford Fosgate 3Sixty.2 Interactive Signal Processor that helps provide outstanding clarity and sound definition for this Herculean compact SUV audio system.

Mitsubishi Raider wins Baja 1000 Stock Mini Truck ...

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Mitsubishi Raider Truck Triumphs in the Prestigious 39th Annual Tecate Score Baja 1000

Dan Fresh of DXR Racing Pilots the Baja Raider Truck To a Hotly Contested Baja 1000 Class Victory

CYPRESS, Calif., Nov. 22 -- Mitsubishi Motors North America (MMNA) today proudly announced that the production Mitsubishi Raider truck prepared and campaigned by DXR Racing, roared to victory in the Stock Mini class at the 2006 Baja 1000, which wrapped up in La Paz, Mexico this past weekend. In a race that was determined the closest finish in Stock Mini class history, the Mitsubishi Raider won by a margin of 33 seconds.

Team Mitsubishi/DXR Racing spent 34 hours, 36 minutes and 44 seconds on the desert course to prevail over the factory Toyota FJ Cruiser (driven by Rod Millen) and other factory efforts from Hummer (driven by Baja legend Rod Hall, who has the most Baja 1000 class wins over 20 years) and import-class rival, Honda. The race was ultimately settled over the last 20 miles and included a dramatic, late-stage collision between the Toyota FJ Cruiser and Mitsubishi Raider in an aggressive attempt by Millen to take the lead.

Ultimately, the Raider's consistent performance, steady pace race strategy and the proven mettle of Fresh -- who drove all but 25 minutes of the race himself while other entries used two or three drivers -- made this a "driven to thrill" triumph for the Raider as well as the Mitsubishi brand.

"This race was a truly amazing moment and well-deserved win for Mitsubishi Motors and the race-prepped Raider," said Jun Asami, Vice President, Marketing, Mitsubishi Motors North America. "We are proud of both the tenacity of Dan Fresh and the performance of this outstanding Mitsubishi vehicle."

OFFICIAL Results from 2006 SCORE Baja 1000
STOCK MINI (Stock, Mini Trucks)
1. Dan Fresh, San Juan Capistrano, Calif./Sean Douglass/Dale Godges,
Irvine, Calif., Mitsubishi Raider, 34:36:44. (30.27mph race avg.)
2. Rod Millen (New Zealand)/Ryan Millen, Newport Beach, Calif.,
Toyota FJ Cruiser, 34:37:18
3. Rod Hall, Reno, Nev./Emily Miller, Crested Butte, Colo./Mike Winkel,
Reno, Nev., Hummer H3, 36:37:17
4. Gavin Skilton, Orange, Calif./Kevin Jensen, Apple Valley, Calif./Clive
Skilton, Orange, Calif., Honda Ridgeline, 42:51:25
(6 Starters, 4 Finishers)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Final Rally of the Year -Wales Rally GB

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Sebastien Loeb - Citroen

Preview: Wales Rally GB

With three of the four championships already decided, subject to the publication of the final results by the FIA and the fourth potentially decided before the recce starts tomorrow (Tuesday), it looks like everyone will be off the reins and aiming to end the season on a high at this weekend's Wales Rally GB.

The Driver's championship was sewn up by Sebastien Loeb in Australia, the Manufacturer's by Ford in New Zealand, the P-WRC by Nasser Al-Attiyah in NZ and pending the outcome of an appeal against his exclusion from the last J-WRC round in Turkey, PG Andersson may already be J-WRC champion. The British Rally Championship, which this event is a qualifying round for is also already settled, in Mark Higgins' favour, so every team is going to let its drivers run their rally and demonstrate just what they can achieve on the likely wet and cold Welsh stages.

gronholm hirvonen

With Sebastien Loeb in Wales for the recce only, the smart money will be on one of the BP-Fords for the win, with Marcus Gronholm favourite. Only Loeb, Gronholm and team-mate Mikko Hirvonen have won events this year. Buoyed by winning the manufacturer's title two weeks ago in NZ, the Blue Oval boys are going to be at each others throats, with no need to play any game other than the one which involves them winning. Team Boss Malcolm Wilson has given both drivers free reign to challenge for the win but each realises that their most likely competition will be from within the team.

solberg nz

However, the same smart money would also not bypass the Subaru World Rally Team. It has an impressive record on the event, having won the last four years consecutively with Petter Solberg at the wheel. This has not been the team's most successful season so far but the last couple of rallies have hinted at an improvement and the team is hoping it can translate that into success in the Welsh forests. According to Solberg, it's a big attacked from the start of the first stage, as there's nothing to lose. Chris Atkinson has only done the event once before and is understandably not as bullish as his team-mate but hopes winter rally experience down under will help.

Xavier Pons

Kronos Total Citroen will again field Xevi Pons and Dani Sordo with Loeb watching from the sidelines. Pons will inevitably be riding high on a wave of confidence, after a hatrick of fourth places in the last three events and tackles his fourth Rally GB this weekend. He first competed in Group N in 2003, in a Super 1600 in '04 and a Xsara WRC in '05 while Sordo will be tackling his first running of an event for the sixth time. However, he's also showed a good grasp of new events and is definitely getting his confidence back after a run of poor results in the middle of the season.

stohl nz

The OMV Peugeot Norway team driver Manfred Stohl will be looking to continue his recent run of form, standing on the podium twice in the last two events. Stohl currently lays just one point behind Sordo in the Driver's table and has already said he will be targeting fifth in the 2006 Drivers' championship for this weekend. Henning Solberg, on the other hand, has had two events to forget, crashing in Australia and rolling in New Zealand but also has a Citroen in his sights; that of Xevi Pons. The Norwegian is three points behind and feels seventh in the overall standings is possible.

Andreas Aigner

Red Bull Skoda makes a welcome return in Wales, having sat out the two previous long-haul events. Its two usual drivers will be taking part, Harri Rovanpera and Andreas Aigner, Aigner looking to repeat his impressive performance from Germany earlier this year when he demonstrated his best pace so far. Rovanpera will also be looking to show what he and the Fabia WRC can do on an event he knows well and has enjoyed success in recent years, finishing fourth in 2005.

Matthew Wilson

In the Stobart VK Ford M-Sport camp, Matthew Wilson will be looking forward to a return to home soil, which should give him the opportunity to show his true pace. However, he will not have the easiest of starts, with a one-minute penalty already in place thanks to a speeding infringement earlier in the year. Jari-Matti Latvala will drive the second 2006-specification Ford Focus RS and will be fired up after winning the Production car World Rally Championship category of the last two events. Norwegian 17 year-old sensation Andreas Mikkelsen will also be running as part of the Stobart team, while recently-crowned BRC champion Mark Higgins will use Steve Perez' Focus WRC.

There are also privately entered Skoda Fabia WRCs for Francois Duval and Jan Kopecky while Gareth McHale also makes a return to the WRC in a Focus WRC.

Per-Gunnar Andersson

The Junior World Rally Championship makes its final visit to the stages for the season this weekend and things are a little more uncertain in that field. Leader PG Andersson was excluded from the category in Turkey for a servicing infringement and an appeal against the decision was lodged. The appeal will be heard today (Monday 27 November) and any decision announced tomorrow. If the decision is reversed and his result reinstated, then he automatically becomes champion, again subject to publication of the final results by the FIA.

However, if the appeal is turned down and the decision stands, then six drivers will fight for the title, including Andersson, Urmo Aava, Patrick Sandell, Guy Wilks, Jozef Beres and Kris Meeke. But the margins between them are so close that realistically, each will be challenging for the win to ensure they take the crown. With typical Rally GB weather in store, then the advantage is bound to go to the home talent, with Wilks and Meeke first and second the last time the J-WRC featured on GB but it's by no means a foregone conclusion. In the Rookie category, it's a straight fight between Barry Clark and Andreas Cortinovis; whoever is ahead in the event becomes the Rookie champion.

Toyota Super 2000

Further back is a host of Group N runners, this event forming the last round of the British Rally Championship. There is also the debut of the Toyota Super 2000 driven by Alister McRae, the car's first competition outside South Africa and only the second S2000 car to appear on the WRC. Run by the RED team, McRae spent two days testing the car, changing its characteristics to suit the UK gravel and hopes to be in amongst the front-running group N cars, the class he will be in.

Other names likely to be cropping up in Group N include former BRC champion Gwyndaf Evans, David Higgins, Jonny Milner and Niall McShea, along with P-WRC regulars, Mirco and Loris Baldacci.

Based once again at the Felindre service park near Swansea, the event returns to its traditional winter slot in December and with it, equally typical weather; wet and cold with short days. The route has been changed since the last running to accommodate the shorter daylight hours and there are also two new sections of road, one to avoid a residential property and one on the Epynt military ranges, including a new jump, 'Paras' Leap'. The event also features a superspecial in the Millennium stadium on Saturday evening, which will see the running stop for a one-hour MPH '06 show featuring a team rally challenge, stunts and demonstrations.


Toyota's back in the WRC in the S2000 category

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The FIA confirmed last Friday (24 November) that the Toyota Corolla-based Super 2000 car has been homologated and will therefore be available for competition on Wales Rally GB, where Alister McRae has been entered in an example.

Delays in the homologation application have occurred due to a variety of reasons, not least the newness of the S2000 formula. These led to delays in official acceptance of the car since it was first presented to the FIA in the summer. However, local rules had allowed the car to compete since early 2005 in its native country.

McRae's car is being run on the Wales Rally GB by RED and is the first Super 2000 to run on an FIA World Rally Championship event in Central Europe, although two Fiat Punto Super 2000 cars took part in Turkey. From the start of 2007, Super 2000 cars will be eligible to compete in the Production car World Rally Championship, competing against the Mitsubishis and the Subarus.

McRae completed a two-day test of the Corolla and said he was pleased with the outcome, working to adapt the car's set-up to suit Welsh forests as opposed to blind rallying found in South Africa. He and the team will be looking to assess the car's competitiveness against the Group N runners, including the British Rally Championship field and several P-WRC regulars.