Friday, February 29, 2008

Best ever residual values announced for Lancer and Lancer Evo X [UK]

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Thursday, 28 February 2008

* Lancer secures best residual values for petrol and diesel 4-door competitor variants
* Lancer Evolution X residual values as much as 4% ahead of main competition
* Lowest ever whole life costs ensure Lancer and Lancer Evolution X are the most competitive yet

Not only are the all-new Lancer and Lancer Evolution X taking the country by storm with their sharp styling, performance and value for money, they now also offer best ever residual values and great value ownership costs.

Lancer Residual Values[1]
The all-new Lancer has been awarded excellent residual values by industry experts of up to 37% after 3-years / 60,000 miles for the 1.8 petrol and 2.0 diesel variants.

Jim Tyrrell, Managing Director for Mitsubishi Motors in the UK remarked that “for a 4-door saloon in the UK market to be so close behind a key competitor such as the Honda Civic 5-door is a very pleasing result for us. The designers and engineers have worked really hard on this vehicle, and it is good to see all that effort rewarded by the UK’s experts”.

Lancer Evolution X Residual Values
The Lancer Evolution X aims high and hits an impressive 39% residual value after 3-years / 60,000 miles, leaving some of its key competition well in its rear view mirror.

Lance Bradley, the UK’s Sales and Marketing Director, commented that these strong residual values reflect the fact that “the new Lancer Evolution X has grown up, but lost none of its performance DNA. The SST versions are like three cars in one - for each of normal, performance and hard core track use. As such, it’s no wonder they will be worth good money in the future.”

Lowest Ever Servicing Costs
The strong residual values across the range complete a line up of lower-than-ever costs to keep the vehicles on the road, without punishing the owner’s wallet.

* Service intervals on the Lancer range have been extended to 12,500 miles from 9,000 on the previous generation
* Lancer Evolution X has been extended to 10,000 miles versus 4,500 previously[2].
* The Mitsubishi Service Plan (MSP) will cost owners just £200 for 3-years servicing on all Lancer models
* MSP is set at just £400 for all Lancer Evolution X models.
* All new Mitsubishis come with a 3-year manufacturer’s unlimited mileage warranty, which includes 3-years of pan-European breakdown and recovery service.

So, with excellent residual values, and the lowest ever running costs this makes the all-new Lancer family the best value for money it has ever been to keep fully maintained and hassle free.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mitsubishi Prototype-S pictures

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Mitsubishi Prototype-S Gallery
Click on thumbnail for a high-res image

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mitsubishi Prototype-S

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Tokyo, February 26, 2008 - Mitsubishi Motors Corporation is to give the Prototype-S sport hatchback concept its global debut at the 78th Geneva International Motor Show which runs from March 4 through March 16 at the Geneva Palexpo exhibition and conference complex (opening to the general public on March 6). Also included in Mitsubishi Motors' 16-model stand (13 on Press Days) are: the i MiEV (dubbed the i-EV in Europe) and the Lancer Evolution (Lancer Evolution X on the Japanese market). The i MiEV is a new-generation electric vehicle under evaluation for export to international markets and currently undergoing fleet monitoring in Japan; Lancer Evolution is a new-generation high-performance 4WD sedan that allows all drivers to experience enjoy the highest levels of fun-to-drive performance safely and with confidence.

Making its global debut at the Geneva Show, the Prototype-S is derived from the Lancer sports sedan (Galant Fortis on the Japanese market) currently on sale in most Mitsubishi Motors markets worldwide.

Distinguished by the inverted-slant nose with trapezoidal grille front fascia that comprise the Mitsubishi Motors new design identity, and with purposeful, wide-and-low proportions; Prototype-S uses exterior lines to craft a shape that is powerful and sporty. The use of 215/45R19 tires on 19-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels adds to the tautly muscular and road-hugging image the styling projects.

Prototype-S uses a new 2.0-liter MIVEC*1 4-cylinder DOHC intercooled / turbocharged engine, developing maxima of 240 PS and 35 kg-m that will also power the Lancer Ralliart due to go on sale in North America in the summer of 2008. The power unit is mated to Mitsubishi Motors's high-efficiency Twin Clutch SST*2 automated manual transmission that gives the driver simple control of and feel-good access to the car's exhilaratingly sporty performance. The full-time 4WD driveline features Mitsubishi Motors' Active Center Differential (ACD) that uses an electronically controlled multi-plate hydraulic clutch to optimally tailor front / rear drive torque vectoring to different driving conditions and deliver the best balance between steering response and traction.

*1 MIVEC : Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control system
*2 SST : Sport Shift Transmission

1. Prototype-S specification
Length (mm) 4,585
Width (mm) 1,760
Height (mm) 1,480
Wheelbase (mm) 2,635
F/R track (mm) 1,530/1,530
Occupants 5
Engine 2L MIVEC 4-cylinder DOHC with intercooler/turbocharger
Max. output 177 kW (240ps)
Max. toque 343 Nm (35kgm)
Driveline Full-time 4WD (with ACD)
Transmission Twin Clutch SST
Tires 215/45R19

Friday, February 22, 2008

Suzuki WRT Rally Mexico Preview

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Gardemeister and Suzuki celebrate a Mexican fiesta!

Event news:
Rally Mexico, round three of this year's World Rally Championship, will mark an important milestone for Toni Gardemeister and Suzuki. For Gardemeister, Mexico is his 100th World Rally Championship start, while for Suzuki it is the SX4 WRC's first competitive appearance outside of Europe - as well as the first round of this year's championship to be held on gravel. Having started his World Championship career on the 1996 Rally Finland, Gardemeister is also the factory driver who has been competing on the series for the longest amount of time - despite the fact that he is still only 32 years of age!

The action is sure to be fast and furious on the colourful Rally Mexico, but once again Suzuki finds itself facing a steep learning curve. With the last test event on gravel for the SX4 WRC coming at the 2007 Rally Great Britain, the team and drivers will have to try to find the correct set-up as they go along. Mexico is a crucial event as it is the first World Rally of the year to be held in normal gravel conditions, following the slippery asphalt of Monte Carlo and the icy slush of Sweden. The information gathered in the heat and dust of Mexico will be vital for the many gravel events that are still to come.

The Mexican stages have a number of peculiarities however. With some stages peaking at more than 2000 metres, Mexico is the highest event on the World Championship. The effect of this altitude is to rob the turbocharged engines of power, with cars losing up to 25% of their total horsepower in the thin air. The rally is based in Leon, the leather capital of Mexico, and comprises 20 special stages totalling 353.75 competitive kilometres. For more information:
Per-Gunnar Andersson, 2008 Monte Carlo Rally
Car news - Suzuki SX4 WRC n.11 (Gardemeister) and n.12 (Andersson): Mexico joined the World Rally Championship in 2004, but Suzuki has only competed there once - with the Super 1600 Ignis in 2005. The SX4 WRC only has one gravel event behind it - last year's Rally Great Britain with Sebastian Lindholm - so there will be a lot to learn. Nonetheless the basic speed and reliability of the SX4 WRC has been good for a car in this very early stage of its career, with a pair of points finishes already in the bag after the two opening rounds of the World Championship.

Following the Swedish Rally a number of small improvements have been made to the hydraulic system in order to improve reliability and also performance. The Mexican stages are reasonably smooth so the car will run in standard gravel trim. The roads are notoriously hard on brakes though, which will be one of the many factors considered when determining the set-up. Mexico is also the first outing for Pirelli's new 'Scorpion' gravel control tyres.

Driver news:
Toni Gardemeister and P-G Andersson have one thing in common heading into the Rally Mexico: they have both competed on the rally on just one occasion, in 2005. Andersson has happy memories of the event, finishing second in class behind his Suzuki team mate, while Gardemeister mostly remembers being afflicted with a heavy flu that hampered his performance. On the occasion of his 100th world rally though, the Finn is feeling upbeat and in perfect health. "To rack up 100 world rallies is a nice achievement," he said. "I've been in the championship for quite some time now, but it's a bit misleading as there are quite a lot of people who have done more rallies than me. I'm looking forward to Mexico: I was so ill the last time I did this rally that I struggled to finish sixth. Maybe that's why I don't remember so much about it! But I do remember that the stages were nice, although there were some very big rocks that seemed to come out of nowhere. We have to be realistic and accept that this will not be an easy rally for us as everything is unknown. But I'm aiming to enjoy my 100th event and score some more points for Suzuki. I think that's definitely possible."

P-G Andersson also has very little idea about what to expect from the Mexican stages this time round - but he knows that the roads will be tough and unpredictable. "It's actually the sort of event where absolutely anything might happen," he said. "If things go well and other people have problems, you could be in the top five. Equally, you could be unlucky and hit trouble. Realistically I think we have to aim for the top eight. Because of the altitude and our lack of experience compared to everyone else, that would be a good result."

Team news:
The pressure is on for Suzuki in Mexico, as it aims to continue its perfect points-scoring record so far from home. As it is the first long-haul event of the season, the team will be using the fly-away kit for the first time, which is freighted from event to event when it is not possible to use the normal trucks.

Mexico is also the very first gravel event of Suzuki's first full World Championship season, making it important for the team to adapt the car to this new surface quickly. Under these difficult circumstances, the team nonetheless aims to score a points finish with both cars. Nobuhiro 'Monster' Tajima, Suzuki's team principal, commented:
"This rally will be a very big test for us, but we need to approach it patiently and methodically - as we have done throughout the season so far. Of course we start off at a disadvantage compared to our more experienced rivals, but this is all part of the learning process. Gravel will be a new adventure for us this year in Mexico and it is important for us to get it right, step by step, in view of all the other events to come. At the same time we aim to enjoy ourselves and help Toni celebrate his 100 World Rallies! I am very pleased that this important anniversary has come with Suzuki."

-Suzuki Motorsports

Stobart VK WRT Rally Mexico Preview

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February 22, 2008

The Stobart VK M-Sport Ford rally team head to Corona Rally Mexico next week, for the third round of the FIA World Rally Championship, second in the Manufacturer standings. This will be the first gravel event in 2008 for the squad and the third consecutive event that a different pairing will be nominated to score points for the team.
Matthew Wilson, 2007 Rally Mexico

After a sensational podium finish for Gigi Galli/Giovanni Bernacchini in Sweden earlier this month they will again be a nominated scoring crew. The second for this event will be Brits Matthew Wilson/Scott Martin who have had a very promising start to the season and are therefore rewarded with an opportunity to help the team continue with its first-rate start to the season.

Stobart regulars Henning Solberg/Cato Menkerud jump ship for this event in aid of fellow M-Sport-run outfit the Munchi’s Ford World Rally Team.

For Galli this will be his first event on gravel in the Stobart Focus RS WRC07 and the 35-year-old is relishing the opportunity like a raging bull. The only time he competed here was not the greatest with suspension issues forcing him to retire on stage 6 back in 2004.

Budget restrictions have prevented the Italian from competing in Mexico over the last three years but to keep a close relationship with the unique properties of this event he undertook reconnaissance in 2005 and 2006.

Twenty-one-year-old Wilson will be looking to continue on from his form in Sweden which saw him in a Sunday showdown for fifth position before throttle issues forced his retirement on the penultimate stage. Sporting the number 8 for this event it will be the youngster’s first as a nominated point scoring driver for the Stobart team since Wales Rally GB back in 2006.

Rally Mexico is well known for its vibrant atmosphere and heavy spectator interest which last year saw over 60,000 gather in Guanajuato, a UNESCO world heritage listed mining town, for the ceremonial start which will again occur this year. The sweeping gravel surface is generally hard packed and smooth but stray rocks and boulders lining the roads could become a major factor this year with puncture-preventing mouse inserts banned in the WRC.

With Mexico a late inclusion in the 2008 calendar much of the route will remain unchanged from 2007. Day 1 will sport the only change where the last few kilometres of Ortega and El Cubilete stages have been re-routed for logistical reasons reducing the overall competitive mileage by ten kilometres. Rally Mexico continues as one of the most compact routes in the WRC with just 830 total kilometres, as well as being one of the most elevated at over 2000 metres above sea level.

Pirelli will introduce its brand new Scorpion gravel tyre on this event after two successful rallies with both the winter asphalt and snow tyres. It will be a tough test on a demanding rally but so far an almost puncture-less two events will be a great confidence booster for the Italian manufacturer.

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team Driver Gigi Galli said:
“I just really want to be in Mexico right now, I feel like a horse before a big race raring to go. I competed on this event in 2004 but only got through five stages; however we did do the recce in 2005 and 2006 which I think will help a lot. Mexico is such a wonderful place to go and the atmosphere of the fans is incredible. The people also manage the roads very well there which makes them quite enjoyable to drive on. It will be harder for me to compete at a good level having only done five competitive stages in 2004 but I don’t care, it will be good to be there and get used to the new tyre. I have never used the new Pirelli tyre so this gives us the chance to discover the car and the tyre on gravel for the first time. Like every rally I set a pace on the first stage, see where we are and then develop the speed and feeling from there.”

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team Driver Matthew Wilson said:
“It’s great to be nominated to score points for the Stobart team again. There will be a bit more pressure on me now but it’s a real boost to be able to help the team after such a great start to the year. Mexico has always been quite a good rally for me and it’s where I scored my first drivers’ points in last year’s championship. It’s a bit of a shame not going into the event with any points from Sweden but we will look to get some here. The altitude makes it tough on the cars and the body so Scott and I will be doing some altitude training once we get out there to try and acclimatise a bit better. It will be the first time for me on the new Pirelli gravel tyre but so far we have had no problems on the tarmac and studded versions so I’m confident the feeling will be good in Mexico.”

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team Principal Malcolm Wilson said:
“The Stobart team head to Mexico sitting in a great position and with a good chance of finishing the event still in a top-three Manufacturer spot. Altitude plays a big part in this rally and it will be tough on both drivers as the temperatures are much higher than the previous two events. Gigi has shown a level head on the first two events this year and already stepped onto the podium in Sweden. It will be a tricky first gravel event for him, however, as he will have the added challenge of fighting the power deficit along with learning how the car acts on a new surface. Matthew has a great opportunity to score points for the team here and has shown a steady improvement on his speed over the first two events. Mexico will be a tough challenge for both drivers will require full concentration to help the team maintain a strong position in the championship and continue to assist the BP Ford Abu Dhabi team at the top of the Manufacturer standings.”

Thursday, February 21, 2008

SWRT Rally Mexico Preview

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Rally Mexico, 29 February-02 March 2008
Gravel roads, new tyres and mountain peaks as SWRT goes West

Petter Solberg, 2007 Rally Mexico

The Subaru World Rally Team will travel west to the Americas for the third event of the season, the Corona Rally Mexico, after its late inclusion in this year’s WRC calendar. The first traditional gravel rally of the year is also the first long-haul event, and the only time the crews will visit the North American continent.

Based in the city of Leon in the Guanajuato region of Mexico’s central highlands, the event promises very different conditions to any seen so far this year in either Monte Carlo or Sweden. On the event where the Impreza WRC2007 was launched last year, crews will compete for the first time on Pirelli’s new Scorpion gravel championship control tyre, available in only one compound and tread pattern. It will be the third different tyre design crews have used in the first three events of the year.

Crews are banned from cutting the tread of their tyres this year, which on gravel typically meant opening up the tread pattern to maximise the tyre’s ability to cut through the loose surface. This will mean road position is crucial as those further down the order will benefit from road cleaning, meaning a smoothing of the loose surface that will afford the standard tread better traction.
The region’s hard-packed gravel roads are some of the highest of the year. Generally fast, they are tricky as they don’t naturally flow through the mountainous terrain. The challenging combination of high and slow-speed sections make it difficult for crews to establish a rhythm along the sometimes narrow and technical tests. Those who are smoothest will improve the life and therefore grip from their tyres on the abrasive surface where tyre wear is very high.

These conditions traditionally suit Subaru very well, and Petter Solberg and Phil Mills won here in 2005 and established an early lead last year before being forced into retirement. Chris Atkinson also held second position last year before running into difficulty and finishing fifth.

The route is much the same as last year with only minor additions to sections of the Ortega and El Cubilete speed tests. Rally Mexico is the most compact route in the WRC, and this year is even more so than last with a total distance of just 830 kilometres. The 354 competitive kilometres of gravel roads traverse the mountains of the Sierra de Lobos and Sierra de Guanajuato to the east of Leon, reaching a peak altitude of just over 2700 metres where the oxygen is thin and engines struggle to develop power.

The event opens with a ceremonial start on Thursday night in front of the Alhondiga de Granaditas, an historic grain storage building which now serves as a regional museum. A change from the first two events, the weather forecast is dry and windy, with temperatures reaching 25 degrees Celsius. Each day is concluded by a 2.21km spectator stage, located 15km south-west of Leon, which will be run a total of five times over the three days to bring the action from the mountains to the local fans.

The Subaru World Rally Team have entered two Impreza WRC2007s for Rally Mexico. Petter Solberg / Phil Mills will drive car number five and Chris Atkinson / Stéphane Prévot will be in car number six. Solberg and Mills have finished on the podium twice in the last three years. Atkinson finished fifth last year, his best result in Mexico, but this will be his first running of the event alongside Prévot.

Team quotes
David Richards, Subaru World Rally Team Principal: “Mexico is a totally different challenge to that we have seen so far this year. It’s an event on which Subaru have a good record, and it really demonstrates the strength of our engine. Petter and Chris ran strongly on this event last year and, using the same car that we debuted then, I expect our performance to put us firmly towards the top of the timesheets.”

Paul Howarth, Subaru World Rally Team operations director: “We’ve gone well in Mexico in the past and the conditions suit both drivers and our cars. Recent tests with Pirelli’s new Scorpion tyre have been positive, but have shown that tyre wear will be a real factor in what we consider to be an endurance event. The stages will be a lot cleaner for the second passes and road position is important. You will lose time starting first on the road as for those further back there will be more grip as the surface becomes cleaner. The roads do get very abrasive though as the loose surface is swept away, and as grip increases, the tyres have to really work hard.”

Driver quotes
Petter Solberg: “We go to Mexico knowing that we have won here in the past, but we don’t approach it any differently to Monte or Sweden. We made some good steps forward in the test last week, so we go to Mexico with a good setup. We’ll drive our own rally, push as hard as we can and see what happens. I hope we will be strong again here as it’s good for everyone if we can be fighting at the front.”

Chris Atkinson: “It’s a difficult rally with the altitude and the conditions, but we approach it with the same strategy as we have started this year with. Last year we had a good result and good pace on the first day, so if we can maintain consistency throughout the event then I hope we can get a good finish. We have a strong engine in the car that seems to perform well at altitude which I think is one of the reasons we go well here. I like the feeling of the rally as it’s good to have such a variation in speed and conditions that keeps you entertained! Visually it’s appealing and very different, and that’s what rallying is all about.”

Between the rallies
After the Swedish Rally both Impreza WRC2007s travelled straight to Spain for a four day gravel test ahead of Rally Mexico. The duo of Solberg and Mills completed two and a half days, and the pairing of Atkinson and Prévot completed one and a half days to develop a setup for Mexico and the remaining gravel rallies and to test Pirelli’s new gravel tyre. The team also tested suspension and damper components in what was the final test for the WRC2007 as the emphasis shifts to the Impreza WRC2008.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

10 Details for the Evo X [UK]

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• Lights that look around corners, energy saving glass, no reverse gear and micro spoilers in the wheel arches – just a few of the top ten lesser-known details that make the Lancer Evolution X the most technologically advanced Evo in history.
It is well known that the all-new Lancer Evolution X is a supercar slayer packed with cutting-edge technology and enough acronyms to match, such as Super – Active Yaw Control (S-AYC), Active Centre Differential (ACD), and the phenomenal Twin Clutch Sports Shift Transmission (SST).

But every detail of this car has been designed with a purpose, and here are ten facts about the Lancer Evolution X that prove the designers have thought of everything to make this the best Evolution yet:

1. No Reverse Gear –To save weight, the 5-speed manual transmission has no dedicated reverse gear. Instead, it uses an arrangement in which first and third gears engage with an idler gear on a separate shaft to reverse the direction of rotation.

2. Spoilers In The Wheel Arch - The wheel houses have a miniscule spoiler lip around the curve of the wheel to prevent the wind from swirling in the wheel housing thus improving the aerodynamics of the vehicle.

3. Energy Saving Glass - Solar control glass uses an infrared absorbing material in its intermediate layer to reduce transmission of solar heat by 66-100%. The glass also cuts out transmission of ultra-violet light but transmits all visible light to keep the interior airy and light.

4. Stainless Steel Manifold - The exhaust system uses a stainless steel manifold, which is smoother than other alternatives to maximise airflow. An Inconel turbocharger is located downstream and optimisation of the compressor wheel has improved response by 18% over the Lancer Evolution IX.

5. Your Car, The Way You Want It - Mitsubishi’s ETACs (Electronic Total Automobile Control) system allows you to personalise the set up of your car, just the way you want it. You can decide how long the interior light stays on after door closure, if at all. You decide when the wing mirrors fold in and out – at the tough of a button, or automatically when the door is closed and ignition switched on or off. You choose.

6. Acoustic Engineering – The latest in lightweight acoustic and vibration dampening materials, including foam filling for the pillars, have been strategically placed throughout the body of the Lancer Evolution X. This ensures noise and vibration performance that befits a new generation high performance saloon, while minimising any weight increase.

7. Lights That Look Around Corners – The Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS) uses high intensity discharge (HID) headlights increase the driver’s field of vision to make night driving safer. The clever bit is that the car detects when the driver turns the steering wheel and automatically switches on an additional beam to light up the oncoming corner.
8. External Vents Improve Breathing – Two bonnet vents release engine heat, as with previous Evolutions, but a new feature is the central air intake to help the engine breath and increase power output. New vents have also been added behind the front wheel to let engine heat escape more efficiently.
9. F1 Floating Piston Technology - The all-new aluminium engine is not only 12KG lighter than the previous 2.0 straight four unit, but also uses full floating pistons made by Mahle, renowned for use in F1 cars. Made of a very hard and strong alloy the pistons are able to handle the higher power produced by this road-ready performance car.

10. Mitsubishi Service Plan - The Lancer Evolution X is the first Evolution to ever be made available with the Mitsubishi Service Plan - for just £400. This covers the vehicle’s first three scheduled services and a once-only 1,000 mile oil change.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

2009 Dakar, out of Africa... to South America

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Patrice Clerc, President of Amaury Sport Organisation and Etienne Lavigne, Director of the Dakar, have announced that the 2009 Dakar would take place in Argentina and Chile from the 3rd to the 18th of January. They promise an amazing course, a 9000 km loop including 6000 of specials between Buenos Aires, Valparaiso and Buenos Aires. The Dakar rally, the legendary event of the off-road rally discipline, will for the first time go to South America in 2009.

During the last thirty years, the race has forged itself a legendary reputation on the African territory that helped it grow and become one of the major events of the international calendar. The Dakar will know how to keep and maintain values and a unique spirit. A first choice sporting competition that mixes great champions and amateurs, the event has become extremely international throughout the years, uniting up to 52 different nationalities. Added to that, the Dakar gathers a state of spirit driven by a quest for adventure, open-mindedness and discovery. A nomadic event by excellence with 21 African countries visited during its history, it has the vocation to explore the deserts of the World and A.S.O. studies the possibility for other territories to welcome the Dakar.

While keeping an undamaged challenge, the 2009 edition has accepted the invitation of Argentina and Chile, countries with which A.S.O. was in contact for several years.

The 2009 Argentina-Chile Dakar Route

The organisers were seduced by the discovery of territories where navigation, sand, and crossings will be on the menu. Argentina and Chile gather all the ingredients for a fantastic Dakar both in terms of the level of the varied topography and the splendour of the landscapes or through its infrastructures. The enthusiasm launched by the prospect of welcoming the event promises a great Dakar.

The registrations for this new challenge will start on the 15th of May 2008. The competitors registered for the 2008 edition will have priority and will benefit during a month from a similar tariff as this year’s one.


Dakar Series Part 1: Central Europe Rally

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The Central Europe Rally: First rally of the A.S.O. "Dakar Series "

Budapest (HUNGARY)-Amaury Sport Organisation announces the creation of the Central Europe Rally. This new rally organised under the " Dakar Series " certification will take place from April 20th to the 26th in Hungary and Romania. Scrutineering and administrative checks will take place on 19th of April in Budapest.

The 2008 Central Europe Rally course

The Central Europe Rally, between Budapest and Lake Balaton in Hungary, crossing Romania, will consist of an extremely varied and technical route. Nearly half of the total distance, 3000kms, will be run in special stages. The opening of entries is planned on 11th of February. A.S.O has already received the support of all the major teams. BMW, Mitsubishi, Volkswagen, Schlesser and KTM have already shown a great interest for this new event, image of the development that A.S.O. wishes to bring to the sport.

The Central Europe Rally will be the first event to be run under the "Dakar Series" certification. This certification will be given to other races that offer the same high organisation and safety standards, strong participation and media attention as the legendary Dakar. With the Central Europe Rally (*), the aim of A.S.O. is to enable the competitors of the Dakar, which was cancelled on 2008, to enter a new rally with some extremely advantageous conditions and offer their sponsors exposure in a major international event.

The "Dakar Series", which was planned to start in 2009, is a project that A.S.O. has been working on for a long time. It will begin one year ahead of schedule. This first Central Europe Rally is a milestone of a series of new events intended to expand besides the Dakar Rally. The 2009 Dakar edition will be announced in the weeks to come.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Two 2007 Outlander XLS CUVs to tackle the frozen north on a two-week Arctic adventure

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Two 2007 Outlander XLS CUVs to tackle the frozen north on a two-week Arctic adventure

PORTLAND, Ore. (February 12, 2008) – Team Mitsubishi Alcan is prepared to take on the Arctic in the world’s most extreme Rally competition - the Alcan 5000 Winter Rally.

The Alcan is a two-week, 5000-mile rally from Seattle, Washington to Tuktoyaktuk, NWT, and back. The event begins Saturday, February 16 in Seattle, and ends on February 27 in Jasper, Alberta.

Along the way teams will travel over frozen rivers, cross mountain ranges and the Arctic Circle, and may experience temperatures as low as -60F. Twenty-four teams have entered the event.

“We’ve been working for months to get everything ready for the trip. Now the event is almost here and we’re ready to give this rally our best shot,” said team driver Gary

The Alcan is an unusual combination of a road rally and ice racing. In the rally portion of the event, participants travel a predetermined route at specified average
speeds. The rally portions of the event wind through Washington and the western provinces of Canada. The team that navigates the correct route closest to the perfect time is the winner.

But there is another challenge presented to the teams. Four times during the event short race courses are set up on frozen lakes and the teams must compete to see who can drive the course in the shortest time.

Team Mitsubishi Alcan includes experienced road racing and rally racing drivers April Smith, Matt Tabor, and Guinness record-holding race driver Gary Bockman for an edge in this competition.

Team Mitsubishi Alcan has entered two 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander XLS crossover utility vehicles in the Alcan rally. “I’m impressed with the way the Outlander handles. Its suspension is just soft enough to absorb the bumps and jumps on the roads but stiff enough to retain control in slick situations,” Smith says. “Using top of the line equipment makes a world of difference.”

One vehicle, driven by Smith and navigated by Marcus Song, is equipped with an advanced Time-Speed-Distance rally computer for maximum accuracy. Together with a second navigator, Kevin Poirier, this team will compete for the overall event victory.

The second Outlander is entered in the stock odometer class, and will be driven by Bockman and navigated by Jeff Zurschmeide and Matt Tabor. Using only a pocket calculator and the car’s stock odometer, the trio hopes to win the stock class.

There is also an award for the best team performance, and Team Mitsubishi Alcan hopes to claim this award as well.

Team Mitsubishi Alcan has established a website to record their adventures. High resolution photos and blog entries will be posted as often as possible (usually daily)
to this website, at:

Original post from: Outlander Online Community

Hanninen scores PWRC win in Sweden

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Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution driver Juho Hanninen (Finland) collected his first win of the season in Karlstad this afternoon, after dominating the final day of the Production Car World Rally Championship element of the Swedish Rally. There was an even bigger reason for Hanninen and co-driver Mikko Markkula to celebrate as they also collected points in the drivers’ world championship for eighth position overall.

The 26-year-old Finn moved to the front of the field mid-way through yesterday’s stages and then maintained a gap of more then a minute through today’s five stages to celebrate at the finish. The organizers of the event were forced to cancel another stage today due to the unseasonably warm conditions which left the road devoid of snow and ice.

Hanninen said: "The roads today were not so nice to drive on. Again, there was some gravel coming through, so we weren’t having a lot of fun, but at the same time, I am so happy with this result! The Production result is fantastic, but then to get a point as well is incredible. It shows how the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution has run without any problems for the whole rally. The only concern for me was a puncture on the last day. I was careful to avoid the big rocks. But now we are here at the finish and we have the first win - it’s a great way to start the season."

Once again, Mitsubishi’s dominated the top 10 in the Group N category of a round of the World Rally Championship, with seven places taken by drivers of the Lancer Evolution.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Latvala youngest driver to win a WRC rally

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He's done it!

Jari-Matti Latvala held his nerve through Sunday's final five stages to win the 2008 Swedish Rally and collect the first WRC victory of his career.After a sensational drive in difficult conditions, Latvala finished the event 58sec ahead of his Ford team-mate Mikko Hirvonen who was second.

Latvala, aged just 22, becomes the youngest driver ever to win a WRC rally, a record previously held by the late Henri Toivonen, who was 24 years old when he won the 1980 RAC Rally.

At the finish an emotional Latvala danced on the roof of his Focus WRC: It’s a super feeling! It’s almost unbelievable!” said Latvala. “Henri [Toivonen] was one of my idols and secretly I’ve always wanted to beat his record as the youngest winner.

"The rally started so well from the first stage. We’ve made no mistakes, the car has been absolutely perfect and I’ve been able to control the speed - I’m really happy about that. I feel very comfortable now, this result has given me a lot of self confidence and I’m really looking forward to Mexico," he added.


Škoda Auto starts testing Fabia Super 2000

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Škoda Auto starts testing Fabia Super 2000

Škoda Auto has started testing the first prototype of the Škoda Fabia Super 2000 today. Designed to be used in the Super 2000 category, the vehicle is based on the second-generation Fabia.

In compliance with the FIA regulations, the vehicle is equipped with a two-litre atmospheric four-cylinder petrol engine, a six-speed sequential transmission and a four-wheel drive system with three mechanical differentials.
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Commenting on the occasion, Dr. Eckhard Scholz, Škoda Auto Board Member responsible for technological development, said: "We are glad to have started testing the Fabia Super 2000. This year we are planning to optimise and certify the vehicle so that we can use it on both national and international levels. When exactly will the vehicle be released for competition use will depend on the achieved progress, relevant test results and the final certification. Then we are also planning to offer the vehicle to private teams. Based on a customer service arrangement, further development work on the vehicle will be done in close cooperation with our importers worldwide".

Martin Lauer, Head of Corporate Communications, adds: "The history of over hundred years of involvement in motorsport is unique, and we are proud to be able to continue the success story with the Fabia Super 2000. We believe that the vehicle will become a successful part of this tradition, because car racing is popular all over the world and offers great opportunities to promote our products".

Pirelli's control tire for gravel - "Scorpion"

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Third new Pirelli WRC tyre makes debut on Rally Mexico

After introducing two of its new control tyres on the first two rallies of the 2008 WRC season, Pirelli’s new gravel tyre - the Scorpion - will make its competitive debut on the gravel tracks of Rally Mexico.

Following the introduction of the PZero asphalt tyre in Monte Carlo and the Sottozero winter tyre in Sweden, the Scorpion is the last of Pirelli’s new range to make an appearance on a WRC rally; and after widespread acclaim for its asphalt and winter offerings, it has two tough acts to follow.

As is the case for the asphalt tyres, there are two compounds of the Scorpion gravel tyre available, intended to cover all the possible conditions that could be found on the gravel rounds of 2008 WRC series. A hard compound tyre will be used on rallies with a very abrasive surface - like Rally Mexico - while a soft compound will be used for the softer ground or mud of rallies like Wales Rally GB.

The Scorpion has been developed during test sessions carried out all over Europe, using a Peugeot 307 WRC prepared by Bozian Racing and piloted by Italian rally champion Paolo Andreucci.

“We have paid attention to making the new tyres as adaptable as possible, as they need to perform strongly on hard and compact gravel as well as on mud and loose gravel,” said Pirelli’s competition manager, Mario Isola. “Following comparison tests an asymmetric and directional design was chosen, in order to maximise grip under acceleration and braking - as well as providing good lateral grip.”

With anti-deflation mousse banned for 2008, keeping its new tyre puncture-free on the rocky gravel roads around Leon is one of the toughest challenges Pirelli will face this year. Saturday afternoon looks especially gruelling, as crews 75km of repated stages on the same tyres, followed by two passes of the Superspecial. But despite the fearsome reputation of the Mexican roads, Isola says the new Scorpion is up to the job.

“The tyre has been considerably strengthened in order to resist cuts, abrasions and punctures from sharp rocks, potholes, and other such obstacles,” said Isola. “The depth of the tread pattern has been increased in order to make the tyre last longer, and the diagonal tread blocks have been redesigned. The construction of the tyre has been heavily reinforced in order to meet the demands of competition without anti-deflation mousse. Most of the new reinforcements are based around the sidewalls. This is the most vulnerable part of the tyre, where it is easy to pick up a laceration or suffer a failure due to sharp rocks or other obstacles at the side of the road.

“The new construction uses solutions derived from ‘run-flat’ technology, which has already been used to good effect on our road car tyres. As well as reducing the risk of punctures to a minimum, these tyres allow the cars that do pick up a puncture to get to the end of the stage without losing too much time and without destroying the bodywork or any other components. The tyre can then simply be changed on the next road section.” He added.
-WRC, Pirelli

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Pirelli's control tire for snow

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The Swedish Rally, the only snow event scheduled for this year’s WRC, marks the debut of a brand new tyre from the series’ supplier Pirelli.
For this specialised round the Italian manufacturer has introduced a new product called Sottozero. Unlike previous years in Sweden, when teams could select a tyre from a variety of different treads, compounds and stud lengths, the new 145/85 R16 Sottozero is available with only one type of tread pattern, construction, compound and stud.

To enable it to bite through soft snow and into the hard ice underneath, the Sottozero is equipped with 400, 2cm-long tungsten-tipped metal studs, moulded into the tread blocks during the vulcanisation process. The spikes protrude 7mm out of the rubber and dig into the road surface - assisted by the narrow tyre width, which intensifies the contact pressure.

Pirelli’s Rally Manager, Mario Isola, said: “This is quite a specific tyre, which has been recently tested by all the factory teams in the championship - who appreciated the traction and grip that it provided. Naturally, the more it snows the more the drivers will be able to use them to maximum effect.”

Despite the lack of anti-deflation mousse inserts, which are banned for 2008, Isola says the tyres have proved strong and reliable in testing and he is not expecting to see a lot of punctures during the rally.


Saturday, February 2, 2008

09 Eclipse and Eclipse Spyder to be unveiled at 08 Chicago Auto Show

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CHICAGO — The 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse coupe and convertible will make their debuts at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show, with mostly modest updates, including revised front and rear styling.

The big change for the coming year is a new dual exhaust system for the Eclipse GT, which bumps output on the 3.8-liter V6 to 265 horsepower and torque to 262 pound-feet. The V6 can be mated to either a standard six-speed manual gearbox or an optional Sportronic five-speed with manual shift capability.

The Eclipse GT also adds standard stability control, HID headlamps and a large rear spoiler. All Eclipse models feature standard four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and electronic brakeforce distribution. The GT gets larger ventilated rear discs.