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.


Saturday, November 25, 2006

Michel Nandan joins Suzuki Motorsports

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The 48 year-old rally car designer Michel Nandan has joined the Suzuki World Rally Team as Technical Manager, with a view to working on the forthcoming SX4 World Rally Car, due to make its debut in the FIA World Rally Championship in 2007. This comes soon after the decision was made to base the new team in France, rather than in Hungary as previously announced.

This will be the third team for which Nandan has been involved at WRC level. He joined Toyota Team Europe when the Celica ST185 was first being developed and stayed for work on the ST205; cars which between them won 17 world rallies. He was also involved in the early concept stages of the Corolla WRC before moving to Peugeot for work first on the 206 WRC and then the 307WRC, cars which between them won another 27 rallies.

Nandan was not able to begin his engineering work until he had finished his military service, and first moved to a company specialising in metallic composite work in the aerospace industry. His first contact with rallying was when he served as a mechanic for the legendary Monegasque gentleman driver 'Tchine', before working for Peugeot Italia in rallying and Supertourisme racing. He also spent two seasons working with Zakspeed on ITC cars.

The team also announced that Italian Nino Frison joins as Chief Designer.


2007 Volkswagen Passat R36 (UK)

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Volkswagen is set to release its most potent ‘R’ model yet – the Passat R36. Joining the Golf R32 and only the second model in the Volkswagen line-up to carry the ‘R’ badge the new car will be not only the fastest Passat but also the fastest estate car Volkswagen has ever produced.

The basis for the R36 is a new 3.6-liter FSI V6 engine developing 300 bhp. It’s mated to an ultra-responsive, six-speed DSG gearbox channeling drive through all four wheels to maximize traction. At each corner are revised springs and dampers linked to uprated brake discs and calipers to add more bite under heavy deceleration.

Clothing the mechanical changes is a bespoke bodykit which at the front incorporates a trio of deep airdams drawing a family resemblance with the Golf R32. Deep sideskirts and chrome highlights are framed by unique 18-inch wheels wrapped in 235/40 R18 tires. At the rear a deeper bumper houses a pair of chrome-tipped tailpipes and revised light lenses.

Gripping the driver and front seat passenger are a set of sculpted sports seats bearing the R36 logo. The dashboard is finished in brushed aluminum panels set into which are a set of unique dials joined by a sports steering wheel and bespoke ‘R’ polished pedals.

Equipment levels, as with the standard Passat, remain high with ABS, ESP (Electronic Stabilization Program), Xenon headlights, 2Zone electronic climate control, a heated windscreen and seats, six airbags and a radio/CD player.

The R36 takes its place as the fastest production Passat with a claimed 0 to 62 mph time of 5.6 seconds. It electronically limited to maximum of 155 mph.

The Passat R36 makes its public debut at the Essen Motorshow on November 30th. Prices will be announced closer to the UK launch in 2007.

Daniel Carlsson's Anti-Drink Campaign

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Swedish rally driver Daniel Carlsson has launched his support for a national anti drink-driving campaign, which will be linked with his 2007 FIA World Rally Championship programme.

Daniel Carlsson

At a press conference in Stockholm, Carlsson announced his work in a government anti drink-driving campaign aimed at the younger driver sector, a promotion which will feature on his 2007 world championship campaign. "This initiative is linked with commercial alco-lock systems, which are already being commercially marketed in Scandinavia, in which cars can be immobilised if sensors detect excessive alcohol levels in the car".

The campaign, known as World Rally Against Drink Driving, has been formed to help combat the alarming increased level of young driver offenders. "Rallying is very popular with younger people in Sweden", Carlsson explained. "The authorities hope this campaign will help give a message that drink-driving destroys the things which young drivers enjoy in their lives, not least of which is rallying".

Daniel Carlsson

At the conference, Carlsson gave no hint about his programme for 2007, beyond saying that this funding already allows him to plan entries in Sweden and then Norway, and to look at expanding a programme until hopefully a full season can be funded. He continued: "The WRC scene for 2007 is in an unusual situation, where there are more commercial availabilities with teams than there are drivers able to fill the vacancies".

Thursday, November 23, 2006

2007 Subaru Impreza WRX STi RB320

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Subaru has announced a new special edition Impreza WRX STI in memory of rally hero Richard Burns who died in November last year of cancer.

Called the RB320, the new car features around £6,000 worth of extra equipment including the 320 PS Prodrive Performance Pack, yet costs £29,995 on-the-road – an increase of only £3,500. Available only in Obsidian Black, the RB320 features bespoke 18 ins alloy wheels and specially developed Prodrive suspension comprising Bilstein dampers, a sports spring kit with revised rear anti-roll bar and a ride height lowered by 30 mm at the front and 10 mm at the rear.

Also standard on the RB320 are a chrome mesh front grille, front lip spoiler, quickshift gearchange, side sill plates and RB320-branded gear knob, carpet mats and exclusive exterior badging. Each owner will also receive an individually numbered black alloy tax disc holder.

The PPP boosts power to 320 PS at 6,000 rpm with torque leaping to 332 lb ft at 3,700 rpm. This reduces the 0-60 mph time to 4.8 seconds with a 0-100 mph time of 12.2 seconds.

And as a further incentive, those customers placing early orders with deposits will be offered a limited number of places at a special RB320 launch event next March at Prodrive’s test track in Warwickshire. Not only will RB320 fans take delivery of their cars at the circuit but will be able to drive demonstration STIs around the track and meet rally celebrities.

In addition, customers will also be able to register on-line and reserve the limited-edition number of their choice via a special sub-section of Subaru’s website.

Finally, the first car is to be given away in a special raffle organised by Autosport magazine, donated by Subaru (UK) Limited. The proceeds will go to the Richard Burns Foundation which helps those suffering from serious injury and illness.

Subaru rally ace, Richard Burns – holder of the FIA World Rally Championship driver’s title – died in November 2005 of brain cancer at the age of 32.

-Subaru UK

Monday, November 20, 2006

" i " takes "Most Advanced Technology" award

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" i " takes "Most Advanced Technology" Special Achievement Award in the Car of the Year Japan 2006-2007

" i "

Rear-midship Layout

Tokyo, November 20, 2006 — Mitsubishi Motors Corporation today announced that the "i" mini passenger car has won the "Most Advanced Technology" Special Achievement Award, voted for by the Car of the Year Japan's Executive Committee*1. The "i" is the first mini passenger car to be awarded this honor. Confirming Mitsubishi Motors' heritage in the Car of The Year awards, this further recognition for "i" comes 10 years after "Galant/Legnum" was declared Car of the Year Japan 1996-1997.

Ushering in a new age for the minicar, "i" was developed as an innovative Premium Small Car that successfully overcomes the tradeoffs traditionally associated with the category: design versus comfortable interior space; comfortable interior space versus impact safety. Mitsubishi Motors has conquered these challenges by developing a new and leading edge "rear-midship layout" that mounts the engine forward of the rear axle line and permits three new "innovations" within the category's dimensional constraints: futuristic and uptown styling; agile handling and a comfortable ride; and excellent multidirectional impact safety. This highly original exterior and interior design, which is delivered by the ingenious platform, brought the award.

*1: Outline of Car of the Year Japan 2006-2007
Candidates: All passenger cars released or launched in Japan as a new model between November 1, 2005 and October 31, 2006.
Prizes: Car of the Year Japan / Import Car of the Year Special Achievement Awards ("Most Fun", "Best Value", "Most Advanced Technology")
COTY Jury: 63 jurors


Sunday, November 19, 2006

MMSP PWRC Rally New Zealand Report

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Multiple Japanese Rally Champion Fumio Nutahara ended his Production World Rally Championship season on a high with second place in the end of season standings, courtesy of a fine fourth position on Rally New Zealand, which ended in Hamilton today. Finland’s Juho Hanninen was top Mitsubishi driver home, clinching the runners-up spot in Group N in his Lancer Evolution.
Nutahara’s hopes and dreams of winning the Group N-based Production series were hit hard when he slipped off the road on the second leg. Through today’s six stages, Nutahara and his British co-driver Daniel Barritt maintained a fantastic pace, with their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution running without any problems.

"It was so slippery in some places today," said Nutahara. "It would have been easy to go off the road again EI have had to remain concentrating very hard! The car and the tires have worked well. The rain makes the stages very slippery, but at the same time, I think that is the condition which is best for us and our tires. I have enjoyed this rally very much. I am very disappointed with what happened yesterday, but these things happen in the sport. Nasser Al-Attiyah has driven well this season and he is a good champion. Second place in the championship and three wins in the Production race is good for me."

San Marino’s Mirco Baldacci had moved his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution into the lead of Group N this morning, but missed out on the chance to score his first ever Production World Rally Championship win following transmission trouble in the Whaanga Coast test. Baldacci was eventually registered as fourth-placed finisher.

"It is very disappointing not to finish this event," said Baldacci. "I had gone so well in the fast stages yesterday and the day before, I really think we could have won here. Okay, this is the way the sport is sometimes."

Finland’s Juho Hanninen ensured there was a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution right at the front of the Group N field on Rally New Zealand. Not registered for Production points, Hanninen was still among the fastest drivers in the field on legs one and two of this event. He continued that pace through the final day, posting fastest time on four from six stages.

"Today has been quite tricky," said Hanninen. "For my first time in the legendary Whaanga Coast stage, I thought it was very difficult. There was so much mud in the last part, very, very tricky. The car was good, though, we had no trouble with it at all."

At the front of the field, Marcus Gronholm collected his sixth win of the season for the Ford team with team-mate Mikko Hirvonen a comfortable second overall. Peugeot driver Manfred Stohl started and finished the day in third place.

Fumio Nutahara / Daniel Barritt
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX

Mirco Baldacci / Giovanni Agnese
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX

Juho Hanninen / Marko Sallinen
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX


BP-Ford World Rally Team wins 2006 WRC Manufacturer Title

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The noise from the service park was deafening as both Mikko Hirvonen and Marcus Gronholm completed the final stage of Propecia Rally New Zealand, confirming BP-Ford World Rally Team's claim for the Manufacturer's Championship, subject to the official publication of the results by the FIA. Team manager Malcolm Wilson was instantly drowned in champagne by his team, and was choked for words. "It's been ten years for me. It's just fantastic," he said. "It's been a combined effort. It really has been down to the people at M-Sport. They have done a fantastic job," he said.

Team director Jost Capito was equally moved. "To have a completely new car - we could never expect this after - not after 27 years of waiting," he said. "I think tomorrow we will realise what we have achieved today. It has been a real team effort. The drivers are new. They fitted into the team well, which I think shows how well the team works together when the drivers can adapt immediately."

Propecia Rally New Zealand Day 3

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Having dominated the event from the outset, there were no surprises that the BP-Ford World Rally Team held their grip on the event to the finish. With the first manufacturer's title in 27 years in its grasp, both Marcus Gronholm and Mikko Hirvonen adopted a pragmatic approach to the final day and never looked in any doubt as to their result. It didn't stop them poking fun at team boss Malcolm Wilson whenever possible though. The team's one-two means that, subject to publication of the official results by the FIA, Ford is the 2006 FIA World Rally Manufacturer Champion.

Marcus Gronholm - Ford

For the third day, there was rain overnight and intermittent rain throughout the six stages, meaning that tyre choice was again a major talking point. The two Kronos Total Citroen drivers, Xevi Pons and Dani Sordo were the men on a charge in the morning's loop of stages, pushing hard to try to recoup third place from Manfred Stohl, the position he'd held on Saturday morning.

Stohl had got his tyre choice wrong on the second leg and had lost third to Dani Sordo on too hard tyres for the wet conditions, However, he'd fought back and reclaimed it by the end of the second leg. His job on leg three was to maintain the position for yet another podium finish.

stohl nz

Pons was putting on a major charge in the morning's opening stages, closing in on Sordo but lost his advantage when he spun on the first run through the famous Whaanga Coast stage. However, as the crews headed out to repeat the stages, Pons had the right tyres but Sordo was another driver on too hard tyres and despite pushing as hard as he could, he was unable to hold off Pons, who passed him on the penultimate stage to snatch fourth.

pons nz

Petter Solberg's final day started badly, when his Subaru Impreza's engine refused to fire at the beginning of the first stage of the day, losing a minute in penalties as a result. He carried on pushing with his trademark determination but again was unable to find the grip he needed on the wet stages and finished the event sixth.

Subaru's Petter Solberg

Luis Perez Companc in the first Stobart VK Ford M-Sport Focus had a solid final day, knowing that his seventh place would be safe if he avoided making mistakes. He maintained that position to the end of the event to claim two driver points on his final event of the season.

companc nz

Henning Solberg, in the second OMV Peugeot Norway 307WRC was another driver who drove to the end of the event, having suffered a roll on the second leg. However, it wouldn't be drama free for the Norwegian, as he lost his brakes on the first run through the Whaanga Coast stage and appeared happy to put the event behind him.

Matthew Wilson impressed on his first visit to New Zealand, despite running first on the road for the final leg. The wet weather made his task easier, as the wet gravel provided better grip than if it were dry but he too suffered a scare towards the end, when his engine temperature warning came on and it went into safe mode. He made it to the finish of the event though.

rossi nz

Valentino Rossi enjoyed another relatively clean day. He admitted to a few spins and mistakes but nothing too dramatic and achieving his goals for the event. The first was to enjoy it, which he did while understanding the nature of a WRC event and a World Rally Car. His performances improved consistently throughout the event and he said he was happy at the end of the event.

But the main celebrations were at Ford. Malcolm Wilson publicly acknowledged the hard work put in by all the M-Sport staff and the drivers in achieving the title. Jost Capito, Director of Team RS, paid testament to the result, saying that he did not expect to win the title with a brand new car.

Final Results:
1 M. GRÖNHOLM 4:02:30.7
2 M. HIRVONEN +56.0
3 M. STOHL +2:39.3
4 X. PONS +2:56.1
5 D. SORDO +3:20.7
6 P. SOLBERG +4:57.1
7 L. PEREZ COMPANC +10:51.6
8 J. LATVALA +16:22.4
11 V. ROSSI +20:38.8

Saturday, November 18, 2006

2007 Mitsubishi Outlander Review

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Mitsubishi Motors Philippines offers 4 new vehicles for 2007

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2007 Eclipse GT [
(Manufactured by Mitsubishi Motors North America)

L200 Strada GLS [
(Manufactured by Mitsubishi Motors Thailand)
(Marketed as "Triton" in some countries

L200 Strada GLX [
(Manufactured by Mitsubishi Motors Thailand)
(Marketed as "Triton" in some countries)

Grandis [

-Mitsubishi Motors Philippines []

Mitsubishi Motors at 2006 Beijing Motor Show

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Beijing, November 18, 2006 — Mitsubishi Motors Corporation today debuts the Outlander EX*1 on-road Sport Utility Vehicle at the Beijing Motor Show 2006. The show is being held from November 18 (November 21 for the general public). Also on display are the Lancer Evolution IX high-performance 4WD sports sedan that went on sale in China this October, the Mitsubishi Concept-Sportback that shows how a next-generation sportback concept car may look, and the Eclipse Spyder that is currently selling very strongly in the North American Market. In total, the company is showing 7 vehicles.
*1: Outlander in Japan

Outlander EX

Eclipse Spyder

MITSUBISHI Concept-Sportback

1. Outlander EX

Outlander, very favorably received in the Japanese and North American markets, is going to go on sale in China in January 2007 with the name Outlander EX.

Outlander EX is the same as the North American market Outlander and will be powered by a new high performance, low emission, low fuel consumption 3-liter V6 MIVEC*2 engine, coupled to a 6-speed automatic transmission to deliver outstanding acceleration and high-speed cruising performance. Fully embracing Mitsubishi Motors' All Wheel Control (AWC) concept, Outlander EX uses Mitsubishi's electronically controlled 4WD system that continuously distributes front/rear wheel drive torque in an optimal way according to conditions.

Outlander sits on a next-generation platform that features enhanced stiffness and crashworthiness, together with an aluminum roof panel that lowers the center of gravity; this reduces roll inertia, improves steering response and handling, and reduces body roll and stagger without impacting ride quality. Outlander EX boasts a high level of specification, including a split tailgate that enhances convenience and loading ease. A spare tire is fitted as standard for the Chinese market.
*2 MIVEC : Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control system

2. Lancer Evolution IX

Lancer Evolution IX, the iconic high performance sport sedan that went on sale in China this October, employs a turbocharged, intercooled 2-liter engine with electronically controlled 4WD system that results in extremely high levels of acceleration, grip and braking. The launch in China follows very successful launches in Japan, North America, and Europe.

3. Mitsubishi Concept-Sportback

Mitsubishi Concept-Sportback shows how a next-generation sportback car may look and was showcased at 2005 Frankfurt International Motor Show. The direction Mitsubishi Motors' design that is set to take in the near future is readily apparent in the concept's exterior. Mitsubishi Motor R&D Europe GmbH (MRDE), located in Germany, created an arresting form that features sporty lines embodying Mitsubishi Motors' sporty DNA, a front visage that gives prominence to the 3-diamond logo, and proportions that give full expression to the vehicle concept.

4. Eclipse Spyder

Eclipse Spyder, sold in the North America Market and produced by Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc. (MMNA), is the convertible version of the fourth-generation Eclipse and the third generation of Eclipse Spyder. This sports car has been very favorably received in North America Market.


Propecia Rally New Zealand Day 2

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If the opening leg of the Propecia Rally New Zealand was a relatively drama-free day, then the second leg was the complete opposite. There were accidents, rolls and spins galore as the crews struggled to get the right tyres for the conditions.

The stages were again damp at the beginning of the day but the big talking point this morning was tyre choice. The crews had to choose their tyres for the first loop of three stages 2.5 hours before actually starting them, 100Kms from service. In the time it took for them to get to the start of the first of the three, the rain began to fall and while some got their choice right, others certainly didn't.

gronholm nz

The BP-Ford drivers, Marcus Gronholm and Mikko Hirvonen both complained that they had too hard tyres for the wet conditions for the first loop of stages, expecting drier conditions. Although it affected their stage pace, they still maintained their dominance at the head of the field.

But one man who definitely got his choice right was Chris Atkinson, the Australian taking two stage wins from three, to move up from his overnight position of ninth to within six seconds of Henning Solberg in seventh by the mid-day service.

Two more drivers who got it just right were the Kronos Total Citroen pairing of Dani Sordo and Xevi Pons. Sordo extended the gap between himself and Manfred Stohl in fourth, while Pons closed the gap to the Austrian and was just 7.4 seconds off fourth place as the crews returned to Mystery Creek.

sordo nz

Stohl spent the morning lamenting his wrong tyre choice, on the basis of what he indicated was incorrect information prior to selecting his rubber at the day's first service. His team-mate Henning Solberg had a distinctly average morning, setting times which did not reflect the speed he showed in Australia three weeks ago before he went off the road. He arrived at service in eighth place, one position behind brother Petter.

Petter was another driver to be plagued with problems early in the day. His intercom failed on the first stage and then he suffered a broken driveshaft on the third, as well as having completely the wrong tyres. He still maintained six place throughout the day though.

wilson nz

The Stobart VK Ford M-Sport drivers also had a torrid morning. Matthew Wilson slid wide and hit a bank with the rear of his car, losing his spare wheel in the process but carried on with little time loss to the end of the first stage. He also suffered from a misting screen on a later stage, losing more time in the process. Running first on the road didn't seem to be too much of a problem but he was another driver who had taken a hard compound tyre, hoping for dry conditions.

Luis Perez Companc was less lucky. He also hit a bank and then broke a wheel in the third stage, losing almost two minutes to Wilson. Valentino Rossi enjoyed his second day of the event, disappointed by the early weather which he felt spoiled his enjoyment of the stages but with the exception of a spin in the morning, enjoyed a clean run and improved his confidence and speed with every kilometre.

Manfred Stohl

Following the mid-day service, the crews headed out again, hopefully this time with the right tyres. However, not all got it right. In contrast to their morning, both Sordo and Pons got it wrong and Manfred Stohl, who had definitely got it right, caught and passed Sordo for third place in the first of the afternoon's three stages. Chris Atkinson's day was soon to come to an end though, as he picked up a puncture, slid off and was then unable to change the wheel on the soft ground and was forced to retire. Henning Solberg appeared to be getting back on the pace, until the penultimate stage when he rolled but managed to continue. However, he had dropped 14 minutes to the leaders and lost his windscreen in the process.

solberg nz

Petter Solberg got his tyre choice wrong again for the afternoon stages but still posted a third fastest time on the penultimate test to hold sixth overnight. Matthew Wilson and Luis Perez Companc were much happier now they had the right tyres, although Wilson subsequently lost launch control and the driver's side windscreen wiper but was enjoying his first visit to New Zealand.

But the Fords of Gronholm and Hirvonen maintained their dominance on the event, ending the second day in first and second overall. The team needs just three points from this weekend to wrap up the Manufacturer's championship and both drivers will be aiming squarely for that on the final leg.

Day 2 Results:
1 M. GRÖNHOLM 2:56:17.2
2 M. HIRVONEN +50.3
3 M. STOHL +2:06.2
4 D. SORDO +2:23.1
5 X. PONS +2:38.4
6 P. SOLBERG +3:25.1
7 L. PEREZ COMPANC +8:41.1
8 J. LATVALA +11:08.1
13 V. ROSSI +16:45.8