Monday, March 31, 2008

Outlander to be equipped with SST [UK]

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Monday, 31 March 2008
* Mitsubishi’s cutting edge twin-clutch Sports Shift Transmission (SST) ready for the UK’s SUV market
* Outlander shifts up seamlessly with cutting edge sports transmission

Mitsubishi Motors in the UK has revealed that the all-new Outlander will now seamlessly step up a gear with the introduction of the Lancer Evolution X’s Twin Clutch SST.

As exemplified in the Lancer Evolution X, the Twin Clutch SST’s benefits include:

* lightning quick shifting versus normal manual transmissions,
* almost no power loss when shifting versus traditional automatic transmissions,
* lower fuel consumption & emissions versus automatics due to the inherent efficiency of the system’s gear changes.
Mitsubishi's Sports Shift Transmission (SST)
This will be the first SUV to be equipped with cutting-edge twin clutch technology and will certainly add to Outlander’s excellent driving dynamics. The latest innovation comes from Mitsubishi’s “Project Global” architecture and helps to further validate the decision to roll out this technology beyond the legendary Lancer Evolution X hero model.
Mitsubishi's Sports Shift Transmission (SST)
Further specification details are still to be announced, but the UK models will come complete with paddle shifters, dual mode (Normal/Sport) and Hill Start Assist functions.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Loeb wins in Argentina... again

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Sébastien Loeb, Daniel Elena and their Citroën C4 WRC overcame the three days of rain, fog and treacherous conditions that were thrown at them during the 2008 Rally Argentina to end the fiercely fought battle on top spot. The mud didn’t deter the spectators from turning out in their usual high numbers as Dani Sordo and Marc Martí joined their team-mates on the podium in third place. The visit to South America turned out to be highly successful for Citroën-Total, with Sébastien taking control in the Drivers’ championship, while Citroën is now just three points short of the lead in the Manufacturers’ standings.

The final leg of the event was once again marked by wet weather, with fog also making an appearance high in the mountains of the ’Giulio Cesare’ and ’El Condor’ tests. These were the only true stages of the day before one last visit to the super-special in Córdoba and the finish ceremony in Villa Carlos Paz.

Just like Diego Maradona in the days when he starred with the N°10 jersey in Argentina’s national soccer squad, Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena deftly dribbled round the weekend’s countless pitfalls to put their rivals on the wrong foot as they powered home to victory with their Citroën C4 WRC. During Thursday’s shakedown session, as guest passenger alongside Seb, ’El Pibe de Oro’ had been able to see at first hand that the defending World Champion is not just strong technically but also that it’s not only with a ball that a top sportsman can juggle!

One of the challenges faced by Seb over the three days was having to run on Pirelli tyres which, in keeping with the regulations, turned out to be too hard for the wet conditions. Along with near-zero grip, crews often had to contend with extremely low visibility, too, so it’s no surprise that Sébastien and Daniel were delighted with their 39th world class win. "Believe me, it wasn’t easy," admitted Seb. "Given the delicate conditions, we had to stay doubly concentrated from start to finish. We also benefited from a faultless performance from our Citroën C4 which was once again competitive and reliable. Before coming here, we had been hoping that Rally Argentina would enable us to take the lead in the Drivers championship and score points for Citroën, and that’s what we’ve done!" Today’s result is Citroën’s fifth straight success in Argentina, while Sébastien has become the most successful driver ever on the South American fixture with a score of four consecutive wins to his name.

"It would have been so easy to get caught out," remarked Dani Sordo before the podium ceremony. "It really has been a difficult event: a single bend could have compromised all the good work put in by everyone in the team and the chance for Citroën to close the gap in the championship. I am please to have finished third and my times were on a par with what I was hoping for."

With two cars on the podium, Sébastien Loeb now on top of the Drivers’ championship and Citroën closer to the lead in the Manufacturers’ standings, Olivier Quesnel was also understandably delighted with the way the weekend turned out. "It’s an excellent result for us. When you see how the event unfolded, it clearly wasn’t an easy rally, yet both our crews figured amongst the few who didn’t put a foot wrong. Apart from the steering rack problem which slowed Dani on Friday, we didn’t have any mechanical trouble either. The combination of two such sure-footed drivers and the reliability of the C4 has enabled us to go top in the Drivers’ standings and also make up much of our deficit in the Manufacturers’ points table. It’s now up to us to keep up the hard work in order to leave nothing to chance with a view to repeating the same sort of performance in Jordan, which is the next round. I would also like to congratulate Conrad Rautenbach and David Senior whose fine run took them to fourth overall with their Citroën C4 WRC run by PH Sport with support from Citroën Sport Technologies technicians. Conrad scored his first WRC points in an event that was far from straightforward given the conditions."
-Citroen WRC

Galli scores points for Stobart in Argentina

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March 30, 2008
Italian crew Gigi Galli/Giovanni Bernacchini have helped the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford rally team to three vital manufacturers’ points on the fourth round of the FIA World Rally Championship this weekend. Galli’s seventh place in his Stobart Ford Focus RS WRC07 sees him maintain fifth in the Drivers’ Championship and the team hold fourth in the Manufacturers’ Championship after Rally Argentina.

Results were not so fortunate for Henning Solberg/Cato Menkerud and Matthew Wilson/Scott Martin who all retired from the event on the final day. Both drivers were running well inside the points at different stages of the event but were struck down by the treacherous weather conditions which hampered this year’s South American round.
Galli’s result was a fantastic achievement considering he retired from day 2 at mid-day service with problems caused by the rough terrain that took over the given time limit to fix. The 35-year-old set a multitude of top-three stage times on the opening day of Rally Argentina posting the fastest on the second pass of San Marcos on Friday afternoon.

Stobart’s second nominated point scorer was not so fortunate, retiring from each day under different circumstances. On day 1 Solberg retired with a broken top-mount after clipping a surface rock sticking up on the racing line. The Norwegian withdrew from the afternoon stages on Saturday to preserve his car for next month’s Jordan Rally and re-entered today under SupeRally regulations, only to retire on the opening test with suspension damage.

Twenty-one-year-old Wilson was running well at the halfway point of Rally Argentina sitting in sixth position and staying out of trouble. Unfortunately on stage 15 the Brit struck trouble on the final corner when the track control arm on his Focus RS broke forcing him to retire from the leg.

The youngster re-started the final day in an effort to gain maximum experience and some more gravel miles before Jordan but unfortunately retired on the opening test with broken front suspension.

This year’s Rally Argentina has very much been a rally of attrition with horrendous weather conditions making it one of the most challenging events in recent years. Torrential downpours, mud, fog and wild winds were the common tune this weekend as several crews fell victim to the unpredictable conditions.

The rally’s 348 kilometres took competitors higher than 2000 metres above sea level at times as they covered 21 special stages including three runs over the 1.78 Estadio Córdoba super special. The next event for the Stobart team will be Jordan Rally 24-27 April where both Galli and Solberg will again score points for the side.

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team Driver Gigi Galli said:
“Wow, last night I did not think I could finish this rally in seventh position but it just goes to show the rally isn’t over until you cross the finish ramp. What happened yesterday was unlucky for us and my mechanics did a fantastic job trying so hard to fix the car before time ran out so I must say thank you to them all. On the first day things felt very good even though the conditions were the worst I have ever driven in my career. We had some good stage times and even a fastest on one of them so this is a good sign for Jordan because I have only had limited kilometres on gravel, in the car. There have been so many people out supporting this rally even though the weather has been terrible and this is great to see.”

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team Driver Henning Solberg said:
“Well it has not been the best event for us but OK this is the way it goes sometimes. We started off quite slow as there was a lot of fog on Friday morning but then on the next few stages we found the feeling and the times were good. It was unfortunate we retired on the first day, the conditions were quite rough and I was unlucky to hit a sharp rock which broke our suspension. This has been the most challenging event in my career but hopefully it will help in the future if there is another event where the weather is really bad like this. Now I am looking forward to Jordan Rally where it is a new event for everybody.”

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team Driver Matthew Wilson said:
“This has been the most difficult rally of my career and is one from which I will take away a lot of experience. It was a disappointing end because we were looking good yesterday and my mechanics did an awesome job to get us back out in the afternoon after the problems on Saturday morning. On stage 15 we broke the TCA which was in a slow and smooth corner but it was just one of those things unfortunately. Today was definitely the hardest day in my career, the rain was unbelievable and you could barely see 20 metres in front of you on the stage because of all the thick fog. It would have been nice to finish this event but we had some good times on the first two days and have gained some experience in some of the worst conditions you will face in rallying.”

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team Principal Malcolm Wilson said:
“This has been one of the most difficult events for the Stobart team in its short history and I am relieved that Gigi has made a comeback today to score good manufacturer points for the team. I’m really pleased with the effort of the whole team, this weekend things have not gone our way but nobody ever gave up and this has resulted in Gigi’s good result which leaves him fifth in the Drivers’ Championship. This event has been a good platform for all three guys heading into Jordan next month and especially for Henning and Gigi whose first day performances showed some impressive times.”

Mitsubishi dominates PWRC class in Rally Argentina

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After leading for 20 of the 21 stages on Rally Argentina, Andreas Aigner (Austria) crossed the finish line in Cordoba this afternoon, more than a minute ahead of his nearest rival to take his first ever Production Car World Rally Championship win.

Having come close on numerous occasions last season, Aigner was delighted to break his duck in such dominant fashion in South America. A string of fastest times on the first morning elevated him to an unassailable position at the head of the standings - and for the next two days, he controlled the pace from the front.
"I have to say a big thanks to Mitsubishi, my team for this," he said. "This car has been incredible. We have hit so many big rocks, but the Lancer Evolution is so tough, it didn’t have any problems. I can’t tell you how pleased I am with this result. It has been such a tough event. The stages this morning, we so difficult. The weather was bad again, with more rain and fog and then I hit a rock really hard and hurt my hand in El Condor. It’s been incredible - an amazing event. But now I’ve won - and that’s all that matters right now. After this I have to go on and build on this result for the rest of the season."

Fellow Mitsubishi driver Sebastian Beltran (Argentina) emerged victorious from an incredible battle for second place with Nasser Al-Attiyah (Qatar). The local hero was fastest on the day’s opener - Mina Clavero - taking 9.2seconds out of Al-Attiyah and closing to six second of the runners-up spot. Beltran redoubled his efforts in the penultimate test, but was able to throttle back mid-way through when his rival’s Subaru suffered an engine problem.

"I really wanted this position," said the overjoyed Beltran at the finish. "It means so much to me and to the Argentinian rally fans to have a home driver so high up. We gave it everything this morning, we were really pushing. Fantastic!"

The final day of Rally Argentina took crews through some of the most dramatic landscapes visited anywhere during the season of the World Rally Championship. After departing the service park alongside the San Roque lake in Villa Carlos Paz at just after seven o’clock this morning, the crews headed high into the Translasierra Mountains for the legendary Mina Clavero and El Condor stages. Running at an altitude of more than 2,000 metres, the cars battled with the soaring Condors and lunar-like landscape for the attention of the rapturous rally fans.

Once again, Mitsubishis were the dominant cars in the Production Car WRC battle, with eight Lancer Evolution IXs in the top 10 places. Fumio Nutahara (Japan) held third place for much of the opening leg, but had to settle for fourth after damaging his Mitsubishi’s rear suspension on SS15. Despite that indiscretion, Nutahara was upbeat about the event.

"This was my first PWRC round of the year, so to come away with some good points is what I needed," he said. "The event didn’t go to plan all of the time. We had some problems, but in these conditions, getting fourth place is good. I am happy."

The Lancer Evolutions of Martin Rauam (Estonia), Amjad Farrah (Jordan), Martin Prokop (Czech Republic) and Bernardo Sousa (Portugal) rounded out the points-paying positions.

At the head of the field, Sebastien Loeb (France) won the event for Citroen, with his team-mate Dani Sordo (Spain) third. Sandwiched between the two Citroens was the Subaru of Australian Chris Atkinson.

The next round of the Production Car World Rally Championship is the Acropolis Rally (May 29-June 2).

Solberg [Subaru] retires from Rally Argentina, losing 2nd place to Atkinson

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Rally Argentina, 30 March 2008
Joy and heartbreak for SWRT in ruthless Argentine finale
Chris Atkinson and Stéphane Prévot finished Rally Argentina in second position overall, making it three out of four podiums from the 2008 season. Team-mates Petter Solberg and Phil Mills were however dealt a cruel blow, being forced into retirement from second position with only two stages to go after complete electrical failure.

Following a fantastic performance that saw them climb to second position overall on Saturday’s stages, Solberg and Mills suffered the cruellest of fates as their Impreza WRC2007 rolled to a stop midway through the first stage of the morning as they lost all electrical power. The duo were denied what would have been their best result since Rally Portugal last year.

“I am desperately disappointed for Petter and Phil” said David Richards, Subaru World Rally Team Principal. “Petter is showing such renewed enthusiasm since we’ve got the car more to his liking, and despite this setback I’m feeling increasingly confident for the rest of the season. In Chris’ case, his maturity in these extraordinarily tough conditions has delivered him yet another excellent result.”

Solberg and Mills attempted roadside repairs to their stricken car but were unable to locate the source of the problem and rectify it within the time they had available, exceeding the stage time limit despite their best efforts. The crestfallen duo were unable to complete the final day of a rally on which they demonstrated a reinvigorated level of performance.
In the ensuing reshuffle of the overall standings, Atkinson and Prévot were promoted to second position overall. Fully aware of the hazards posed by the trickiest of the rally’s stages, the duo continued their measured and mature drive to bring their Impreza home on the middle step of the podium. The result means that Atkinson has had his best ever start to a WRC season, scoring an impressive three podium finishes from the first four events of the year.

“It’s been such a hard weekend it’s more of a relief to finish!” said Chris Atkinson. “Another podium is fantastic for us and for the team, there’s nothing that motivates the guys more than a great result at the end of all the hard work. The feeling in the car was just so much more consistent this weekend and it was easier to drive so I was able to push without making any big mistakes. It’s clear we’ve taken some good steps forward with the car this year and it’s sort of a surprise for me to be third in the championship at the moment. It’s a real shame about Petter as he was going very well and we should have had two cars on the podium, but it demonstrates that we’re definitely moving in the right direction.”

Atkinson’s second place in Argentina moves him into third overall in the Drivers’ Championship, just three points behind second-placed Hirvonen (Ford). The Subaru World Rally Team emerge from South America in third position overall in the Manufacturers’ Championship, but as a result of the electrical problems lost a potential eight points that would have put them within just three of the lead.

The final day of competition provided a short but sharp sting in the tail to this gruelling event. Crews tackled only two full-length stages and a third and final running of the short spectator stage in the ground of the Cordoba Stadium that has proved so popular with fans this weekend. The day’s competitive distance was less than a third of that on Friday and Saturday at just over 40 kilometres.
A combination of high altitude and stages that rose steeply as they twisted and snaked their way up and back down the El Condor mountain, today’s tests were the hardest of the rally. Whilst engines struggled for power in the thin air, an equally treacherous layer of mud on the roads made the level of grip even more unpredictable and challenging.

-Subaru WRT

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Mitsubishi Motors transfers production of SUV for PSA Peugeot Citroen

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Mitsubishi Motors transfers production of SUV for PSA Peugeot Citroen

Tokyo, March 27, 2008— Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) announces today that it has decided to transfer production of all EU-bound SUVs it supplies to PSA Peugeot Citroen from its Mizushima Plant (Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture), where they are currently built, to its European production hub, Netherlands Car B.V. ("NedCar", Born, The Netherlands).

The transfer will be effective as of January 2009.

This decision was driven by MMC's desire to optimize its production capacities according to demand for each model, minimizing missed sales opportunities.

A 100% Mitsubishi Motors facility, NedCar currently builds the European Colt family of compact cars. From August 2008, NedCar will add production of the Outlander SUV.

In parallel, production of the non EU-bound PSA Peugeot Citroen SUVs will be transferred to MMC's Nagoya Plant (Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture), starting November 2008.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Citroen WRC Team partners with Red Bull

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Citroën Sport is pleased to announce the arrival of Red Bull as a new partner of its programme with the Citroën C4 WRC and its crews Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena and Dani Sordo/Marc Marti in the FIA World Rally Championship.
Citroen C4 WRC

It is the combination of the Citroën brand’s international reputation, Team Citroën Total’s outstanding performance record and the exceptional personality of the drivers (three Manufacturers’ titles, plus four consecutive world titles for Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena) that perfectly matches the vision of Red Bull creator and global leader of the energy drinks market which is looking at developing closer ties with the French market.

Citroën Sport Director Olivier Quesnel is delighted with this association which will begin from the very next round of the 2008 World Rally Championship, Rally Argentina (March 27-30). "We are extremely happy to have this exciting new opportunity to work with such a dynamic company as Red Bull. The images of our respective firms are very complementary and this partnership will be beneficial since it slots in perfectly with rally sport and with Citroën, which is a particularly active brand."
Citroen C4 WRC

Red Bull GmbH is based in Fuschl am See, near Salzburg in Austria, and is present in more than 130 countries across the world. The philosophy behind Red Bull’s partnerships in the world of sport is based on building strong associations with sportsmen and women who excel in their particular domains.

Red Bull joins Team Citroën-Total’s existing partners for 2008, namely Pirelli, Le Coq Sportif, Eurodatacar, Citroën Financement, Magneti-Marelli, Sabelt, Transalliance, OZ Racing and Météo France Sports.

-Citroën Sports

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Mitsubishi Motors features mini cars at New York Int'l Auto Show

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The Power of Small: Mitsubishi Motors Showcases Little Cars With Big Capabilities

March 18, 2008 -- NEW YORK --
The Mitsubishi Motors vehicles displayed at the 2008 New York International Auto Show will help North American consumers "get small" and get acquainted with Mitsubishi's renowned small car building capabilities. Tetsuro Aikawa, Managing Director In Charge of Product Development Group Headquarters, will introduce to the North American media the i, i MiEV, i MiEV Sport concept and Concept-cX minicars. The concept and production cars will raise awareness of the capability, sophistication, and design intelligence found in the Mitsubishi's minicar and compact vehicles.

Beyond the obvious advantages offered by smaller, lighter weight vehicles such as improved fuel economy, maneuverability, and reduced cost of ownership, the Mitsubishi models on display offer clever design features and capabilities traditionally associated with larger cars.

"i": To the third power
The increased congestion of urban environments, rising fuel prices, and the cumulative effects of exhaust emissions are all compelling arguments for smaller, more efficient personal transportation. The innovative design and layout of the award-winning "i" minicar showcases Mitsubishi's small car building prowess. Three "i" variants will appear at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, including the "i" (gasoline), the i MiEV (Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle), and the i MiEV Sport concept. The Mitsubishi Motors "i" family represents technological progress in capability and efficiency of the small car concept.
Mitsubishi "i"
"i": Style power
On sale in Japan since 2006, the innovative "i" minicar maximizes a kei-class* car footprint to combine a smoother ride; nimble handling, interior space to accommodate four adults, all wrapped in a unique, stylish package. The "i" is powered by an aluminum three-cylinder, 660cc turbocharged, gasoline engine. This premium minicar's unique rear midship layout locates the engine ahead of the rear axle and helps the vehicle overcome the challenges for interior space, ride comfort and handling typically associated with the minicar class. The optimized interior package long (2550mm or 100.4 inches) wheelbase yields class-leading comfort, handling, and ride quality. The exterior and interior designs offer a fresh take on the traditionally boxy minicar class.

The "i" proved so successful at conquering the challenges associated with small car design that it won several major awards including the RJC (Automotive Researchers and Journalist Conference) Car of the Year 2007, and the Good Design Grand Prize 2006 (awarded by the Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organization). While the RJC award focuses on the automotive industry, the Good Design Grand Prize has a 52-year tradition and screens entries from all fields of human activity based the view that design is an essential element in all fields of everyday life and industry. The "Good Design Award 2006" received 2,918 entries from April 26th to June 7th 2006.

*The kei-class is a popular small vehicle segment in Japan that is limited to a 660cc engine and a 3375mm (132.9 inches) long x 1475mm (58 inches) wide footprint. Vehicle taxation in Japan is related to elements such as engine displacement, vehicle size, and emissions; minicars offer owners tax advantages and reduced cost of ownership.

Mitsubishi i MiEV
i MiEV: Electric power
The i MiEV electric vehicle, in its first US show appearance, improves on the efficient rear mid-ship layout by adapting a zero-emissions state-of-the-art electric drivetrain to this small car package. A durable 330-volt lithium-ion battery system is located under the floor deck, powering a permanent magnet electric motor. With this packaging, the i MiEV is able to offer the same level of interior utility and space as the gasoline version while lowering the center of gravity for more stable handling. The 47 kW electric motor offers improved performance over the 64 hp gasoline version. With instantaneous electric power, the i MiEV offers quicker acceleration compared to the gasoline version. The battery, developed by the MMC joint venture company Lithium Energy Japan, represents the leading edge in battery technology, and promises up to 100 miles of driving on a single charge. The i MiEV will launch in Japan next year (2009), adding a no-pollution solution for congested city streets.

Mitsubishi i MiEV Sport
i MiEV Sport: Sports power
The i MiEV Sport concept, making its North American debut in New York, maximizes the sporty possibilities of the zero-emissions electric vehicle.

The i MiEV Sport concept is a coupe variation on the i MiEV with a "fastback" roofline with a strong performance bias, leveraging the electric vehicle's natural advantages for a performance payoff. The Sport is constructed using a rigid lightweight aluminum frame that helps improve performance and range. The rear mid-ship layout (like the i MiEV) optimizes interior space and ideally situates the drivetrain's electrical components to maximize handling. In the interest of improved on-road capability, the i MiEV Sport's powertrain utilizes multiple electric motors. Two 20 kW electric motors, one built into each front wheel, work together with a single, powerful 47 kW motor that drives the rear wheels. Power output, traction and braking at all four wheels are controlled by the S-AWC (Super All-Wheel Control) system which integrates the ABS and ASC (Active Stability Control) systems to provide outstanding control and handling. For this electric vehicle application, a new E-AYC (Electronic Active Yaw Control) produces the same torque vectoring characteristics as the Lancer Evolution's AYC to give the vehicle playful road manners while maximizing stability and control.

The advanced, futuristic i MiEV Sport concept is also environmentally thoughtful in function and design. While a light green pearlescent exterior evokes thoughts of nature, the heat-absorbing window glass improves the efficiency of the air conditioning and low-drain LEDs are used throughout the vehicle including the rear combination lamps and interior lighting. An auxiliary photovoltaic generator on the roof makes effective use of solar energy; turbines in the front grille harness wind power; regenerative brakes capture motive power. The interior styling is clean, simple and fluid, allowing the driver to feel at home in this sporty, zero-emissions electric vehicle.

Mitsubishi Concept-cX
In addition the trio of "i" minicars, the Concept-cX will appear at the New York International Auto show.The Concept-cX showcases a forward-thinking small SUV design that offers high levels of road and environmental performance with a newly developed 1.8-liter clean diesel engine mated to a Twin Clutch SST (Sport Shift Transmission). With its high seat position providing a wider field of view and its split tailgate giving easy access to the luggage compartment, the Concept-cX offers enhanced safety, utility and convenience. The interior is a nod to the modern with a mix of black and white with warm brown leather accents. A clean, sophisticated IP allows the driver enjoyment in an appealing, comfortable environment. Energy-absorbing materials are used throughout the vehicle, including the lower bumper, to increase the ability to restore its form after minor collisions. The Mitsubishi Concept-cX is a small soft-roader for on-road use that combines a high level or utility, fuel economy and driver enjoyment.
New Additions to the Lancer Lineup - the Grown-up Compact Evolves

Also on display will be Mitsubishi's latest additions to the compact Lancer series, the high performance Lancer Evolution, the 2009 Lancer GTS 2.4 and the turbocharged Lancer Ralliart, showing how much fun can be squeezed into a smaller sedan. Building off the success of the redesigned 2008 Lancer, the 2009 Lancer GTS boasts a new 2.4L engine and combines a sport-tuned suspension with 18-inch wheels, 215/45 R18 tires and large 4-wheel disc brakes. Powered by a new 2.0-liter DOHC MIVEC intercooled and turbocharged engine that boosts an estimated 235 horsepower, the Lancer Ralliart offers a medium between the Lancer GTS and the Lancer Evolution. Set to arrive at dealerships in the summer of 2008, the Lancer Ralliart will also feature a Twin Clutch-SST gearbox and a full-time 4WD driveline with Active Center Differential (ACD).

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Mitsubishi’s Outlander Keeps Lancashire Constabulary’s “Blues and Twos” Green [UK]

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Thursday, 13 March 2008
Mitsubishi’s Outlander Keeps Lancashire Constabulary’s “Blues and Twos” Green

* Efficient and low emissions Outlander becomes Lancashire Constabulary’s “rural beat” 4x4
* Value for money and high MPG keep fleet running costs down
* Self-servicing status, fleet parts contract and unlimited mileage warranty seals the deal

Lancashire Constabulary has purchased first Outlander 4x4s to replace its older multi-purpose vehicles. The vehicles are an initial batch of four to be used as rural patrol vehicles with the need for off-roading and excellent handling on country lanes in all weather conditions.

Chris Malkin, Fleet & Transport Manager from Lancashire Constabulary, said that a main reason for choosing the Outlander was a “high mpg with, low carbon emissions, a reduced environmental impact and low running costs”; the “evaluation staff were attracted to the performance and handling of the vehicle, offering a high specification at a very competitive price”.

The Outlanders will be modified, by Lancashire Constabulary’s in house commissioning team, for Police use with decals, sirens, Mobile Data Terminals, Tetra radio, and emergency lighting to the roof and grille. Chris Malkin added, “the Outlander’s Active Stability and Traction Control system and extra safety features made this an easy decision as we are always pursuing the highest standards for health and safety compliance”, concluding that “this car really did offer the complete package”.

Lancashire Constabulary’s Vehicle Maintenance Unit has been approved as a self-servicing unit, with staff fully trained to Mitsubishi’s high standards so they can carry out all servicing work on the vehicles.

Toby Marshall, Mitsubishi’s General Manager of Fleet and Used cars commented, “it is not hard to see why people are looking at the Outlander to suit their needs... The Outlander had an amazing 2007, with a successful launch in March last year and the Commercial variant won What Van?’s best 4x4 van award. The car range has now been joined by the 2.2 Diesel and 2.4 Petrol MIVEC Auto to complete the line-up”.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Volkswagen will field five Race Touareg vehicles in the Central Europe Rally

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Volkswagen will field five Race Touareg vehicles in the Central Europe Rally leading through Hungary and Romania from 20 to 26 April.

In addition, Volkswagen in the 2008 season will enter two factory vehicles in the cross-country "Rallye dos Sertoes” in Brazil from 18 to 28 June and intensively prepare for the 2009 Dakar Rally to be run through Argentina and Chile for the first time from 03 to 18 January.

"The Central Europe Rally represents a new challenge in cross-country rally sport, and we look forward to this challenge. We will field four factory vehicles and enter a fifth Race Touareg for the customer team Lagos,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. "After the cancellation of the ‘Dakar’ in January our team is extremely motivated to show our strong performance capabilities. The new rally gives us an interesting and demanding platform for this.” After starting in Budapest on 20 April, the rally will be run over a 3,000-kilometre distance through Hungary and Romania and will end at Lake Balaton on 26 April.
Preparation for ASO rally with tests in Hungary

Volkswagen will field the five Race Touareg 2 vehicles originally planned for the 30th running of the Dakar Rally that was cancelled at short notice due to terrorist threat warnings. The four-wheel-drive prototypes powered by 280-hp TDI diesel engines will be driven by the 2007 cross-country world cup winners Carlos Sainz/Michel Périn (Spain/France) as well as by Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (South Africa/Germany), Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/South Africa) and by Dieter Depping/Timo Gottschalk (Germany/Germany). The cockpit of the Lagos Touareg will be occupied by Carlos Sousa/Andreas Schulz (Portugal/Germany). The preparations for the Central Europe Rally will include tests in Hungary.

The Central Europe Rally will be organised by the ASO, the French organiser of the Dakar Rally. With regard to organisation, safety/security and marketing, the new ASO rally in Hungary and Romania is to be on a par with the standards of the Dakar Rally. Kris Nissen: "We welcome the decision of the ASO to offer the Central Europe Rally as another opportunity to engage in top-calibre cross-country rally sport in addition to the highlight of the season, the traditional Dakar Rally.”

Mitsubishi set to race in the first ever Central Europe Rally

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Monday, 10 March 2008


* Mitsubishi prepares to dominate performance rallying in Central Europe and South America.
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation have announced today that Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart will be entering the Central Europe Rally.

The Mitsubishi team who have proven to be dominant on the Dakar series over the last few years, have been given the opportunity to conquer Central Europe as well as currently holding the prestigious Dakar title (2007).

The driver line-up will feature Luc Alphand / Gilles Picard (France), Hiroshi Masuoka / Pascal Maimon (Japan / France), Stéphane Peterhansel / Jean-Paul Cottret (France) and Joan Nani Roma / Lucas Cruz (Spain), who had all been entered to compete in the 2008 Dakar.
The Central Europe Rally is due to start in Budapest, Hungary, on Sunday April 20, and its program includes seven competitive sections in Hungary and Romania before the finish beside Lake Balaton on Saturday April 26. The Central European Rally is under half the distance covered of the Dakar Rally, with only 1,570km of against the clock action.

Read more about the Central Europe Rally

Friday, March 7, 2008

World championships support Make Cars Green campaign

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Competitors from the major FIA world championships are showing their support for the FIA’s Make Cars Green campaign throughout this season.

Drivers from the FIA World Rally Championship participated in a group photo to endorse the campaign during the recent Rally Mexico. A similar group photo for the FIA Formula One World Championship will take place at the first Grand Prix of the season in Australia.

The World Touring Car Championship also supported the campaign from the first round of its series. During the event, in Curitiba, Brazil, and for the rest of the season, the campaign’s logo can be seen prominently displayed on every car in the field. Further Make Cars Green events in conjunction with these championships are planned for later in the year.

Max Mosley, FIA President, said:

“It is immensely satisfying that so many competitors in world motor sport are championing the FIA’s campaign to make motoring more sustainable in the future. This support will be a major benefit to our mission to encourage ecologically sound mobility worldwide.”

Sebastien Loeb, four-time World Rally champion, said:

“It is nice to see that the FIA World Rally Championship is aiming to support FIA's Make Cars Green campaign. I also feel very proud driving for Citroën, a leading brand in Europe regarding CO2 emissions as a result of its more environmentally friendly policy. I have the feeling that we can all work together to reduce the impact of motoring on the environment.”

Jacques Behar, Chairman & CEO of KSO, promoter of the FIA World Touring Car Championship, said:

“The WTCC is honoured to support the FIA's Make Cars Green campaign. Because of the obvious relationship between the touring cars and their road-going equivalents, we strongly believe that the WTCC has a key role to play in raising public awareness of these environmental initiatives.”

Make Cars Green is an international campaign, aimed at reducing the impact of motoring on the environment. This can be achieved in a number of ways, such as through the promotion of more environmentally friendly and fuel efficient driver behaviour; the introduction of new technologies to help motorists monitor their environmental impact; the improvement of tyre design to help save energy; and by encouraging the global use of unleaded and sulphur free fuels.

As part of the campaign, the FIA has launched a public policy Declaration which calls on the United Nations to adopt the first ever worldwide target for CO2 emissions in passenger cars. Make Cars Green also outlines how policy makers, industry and consumers can all play a constructive role in the development of a more ecologically sustainable means of personal mobility in the future.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


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Benito Guerra (Mexico) realized a lifetime ambition today, when he guided his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution to Group N victory on his home round of the FIA World Rally Championship. Aged 24, Guerra is the nation’s hottest rally talent - and has already become the youngest ever winner of the Mexican Rally Championship. Now, though, he can add a world rally win to his list of achievements. The top five in Group N was dominated by Mexican Mitsubishi drivers, as neither another marque or another country could make any impression on the leading positions.

Guerra didn’t just win the Group N category of Rally Mexico, he utterly dominated it in his Lancer Evolution. He and co-driver Segio Gonzalez (Mexico) were fastest on each of the opening day’s major stages. The pair were only beaten on the two superspecial stages, run around Leon race track on the outskirts of the host city. By then, however, Guerra was already thinking about looking after his lead. He would end day one with a three-minute advantage over his nearest rival.

Run earlier in the season than usual, this year’s Rally Mexico didn’t feature the kind of fierce heat which has become associated with the Leon-based event. What it did have, though, was another incredible following from the passionate local fans. Once again, spectators turned out in their tens of thousands to wave the crews away from the start in the colorful city of Guanjuato on Thursday evening. Even if the temperatures were running as high as usual, the sunshine was omnipresent – and a complete contrast to the overcast and cold conditions which had greeted crews through the rallies in Monte Carlo and Sweden.

As soon as the flag dropped on the serious competition, in Mexico, nobody could touch local ace Guerra. And that’s how it would remain for the balance of the rally. He’d almost doubled his lead with another string of fastest times through day two and on today’s three stages (SS18 was cancelled due to spectator numbers) he preserved that advantage to arrive back at the Poliforum service park wreathed in smiles - and the a hero’s welcome from the fervent local supporters.

"This is incredible," said the Lancer driver. "It has been a fantastic rally. My car has been perfect all of the time. To come here and compete against these drivers is a privilege and to go away as a winner is the best feeling. We have had a very good rally, really nothing to report. Of course I had dreamed of this result, but to have it now is just amazing. I am so happy!"

A Mitsubishi was clearly the car to drive in Group N in Mexico. From the first stage, the top six Group N places were all filled with Lancer Evolutions. And by the end of the event, the order might have changed slightly over the 350 competitive kilometers, but five of those top six places were still occupied by Lancer Evolutions.

Rodrigo and Diodoro Salgado (both Mexico) were second after a fascinating tussle with fellow Mexican Mitsubishi runner Jose Ignacio de Izaurieta. De Izaurieta had held second place in Group N initially, dropping behind his rival on the third stage, but then coming back past later on in the opening day. De Izaurieta remained the runner-up until SS12, when a searing run from Salgado moved the number 65 back into second place. Salgado remained second until the end of the event, with De Izaurieta collecting the final podium place in the showroom category.

Carlos and Guillermo Izquidero (both Mexico) were fourth on the opening stage and remained in the precisely the same position throughout the three days of competition after a trouble-free run in their Lancer Evolution. Jos Cortes (Mexico) was fifth.

Sebastien Loeb (France) won the rally outright for Citroen, with Subaru’s Chris Atkinson (Australia) taking a career-best second overall. Swedish Rally winner Jari-Matti Latvala (Finland) was third for Ford.

The World Rally Championship remains in the Americas for the next event, Rally Argentina (March 27-30), which is also the second round of the FIA Production Car World Rally Championship.