Monday, July 28, 2008

Rally Japan 2008 to be known as PIONEER Carrozzeria Rally Japan

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New Name for the Rally - PIONEER Carrozzeria Rally Japan

On July 22, Rally Japan Organising held a press conference in Tokyo. It was held to announce the new title of the event − PIONEER CORPORATION, the world famous audio components maker. Rally Japan, Round 14 of the FIA World Rally Championship 2008 will run on October 30 − November 2 in the central part of Hokkaido under a new name PIONEER carrozzeria Rally Japan.
Ichiro KAMOSHITA [The Environment Minister (Center)], Mr. Toshihiro ARAI (Right) and Mr. Katsuhiko TAGUCHI (Left)

Three rally cars − Subaru Impreza WRC 2008, Suzuki SX4 WRC and Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X were displayed on the event stage where the Pirelli girls greeted more than 200 media representatives. On behalf of the Organisers Nobuyuki IDEI, the Event Chairman, encouraged the media to look forward to the all-new Rally Japan. Ichiro KAMOSHITA, the Environment Minister and the head of the Liberal Democratic Party members union for motor sports promotion was also present at the official announcement. His comment was: "Please make Rally Japan a true people's event". The Executive Director of Sapporo Dome Takeshi SETO wished the event a great success and expressed high expectations on behalf of all administration representatives and other parties involved.

The summary of the event was also give at the conference. The Service park, the Rally HQ, the Media center and the Super Special Stage will all be located at the Sapporo Dome. Besides that Shin-Chitose purpose built stage, which will be used on Day 2 and Day 3 of the Rally, was introduced. The stage is located on the existing off-road course 10 minutes away by taxi from the Shin-Chitose airport. On Day 3 the final stage of the event will run here thus giving the spectators an excellent opportunity to witness the moment of winning the Rally.

A presentation on Rally Japan long running environmental effort was also given at the media conference.
Katsuhiko Taguchi (in red shirt) [Mitsubishi] and Toshi Arai (in blue shirt) [Subaru]

Two special guests were invited to attend the conference − 2005 and 2007 PWRC champion Toshihiro ARAI and the current Asia Pacific Rally Championship points leader Katsuhiko TAGUCHI. ARAI said: "I am very excited about the coming event and will try to do my best there, please come and watch". TAGUCHI, who won Rally Japan Group N category in 2007 has finalized the arrangements to participate in this year event using Lancer Evolution X. He said: "Since this year the event will be held in Sapporo I hope more people can come to watch the rally. In my turn I will try to have a drive that would meet everyone's expectations".

-Rally Japan

Friday, July 25, 2008

Mitsubishi Motors Increases Exposure at ArenaBowl XXII

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Mitsubishi Motors Increases Exposure at ArenaBowl XXII
AFL Sponsor Delivers Kids Activities, Interactive Displays and a Concert in New Orleans

July 25, 2008 -- Cypress, CA --
In its second year as the automotive sponsor of the Arena Football League, Mitsubishi Motors will be increasing its presence with game attendees and a national television audience as ArenaBowl XXII Championship Weekend takes over New Orleans July 24-27.

ArenaBowl XXII will kickoff on Sunday, July 27, as the Philadelphia Soul (13-3, 2-0) will make its first-ever ArenaBowl appearance to do battle with the defending champion San Jose SaberCats (11-5, 2-0) at the 22nd annual Arena Football League Championship game at the New Orleans Arena. The Mitsubishi Motors brand and its vehicles will be prominent throughout the game and the weekend's activities, with interactive displays, kids activities, musical performances and an MVP vehicle giveaway.

At the conclusion of the high scoring, hard hitting action, the game's MVP will be presented with the keys to a 2009 Solar Yellow Mitsubishi Eclipse GT, which will be aired on ESPN, time permitting. Before and after the game, AFL revelers on Girod Street outside the entrance of the New Orleans Arena will have a chance to test their football skills, interact with mascots and players and visit the Mitsubishi Motors interactive display area, including a Mitsubishi vehicle display and a fan photo booth.

Fans of all ages will find family oriented events and interactive games on Saturday, July 26 with the debut of the ArenaBowl XXII Kid Zone at the VooDoo/Saints Complex. The Kid Zone will also feature a child booster seat awareness event presented by Mitsubishi Motors and non-profit organization Kids Safety First, where parents can find important safety information and receive coupons redeemable for free booster seats at local Mitsubishi car dealerships.

On the evening of July 26, at the conclusion of the 2nd Line Street Parade, fans will rock out in the French Quarter at the Mitsubishi Motors ArenaBowl Extravaganza concert. For more than four hours, fans will enjoy the musical flavor of the Bayou as local musicians open the show for two-time Grammy winner Huey Lewis and The News. The concert will feature Mitsubishi vehicle displays and a Mitsubishi Motors VIP area.

ArenaBowl XXII will be broadcast live in high-definition on ESPN on ABC at 3:00 PM EST on July 27.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Nani Roma scores 2nd place for Mitsubishi in Baja España 08

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20 JULY 2008

Following his victory for Mitsubishi on the Baja Espana in 2005, and his runner-up finish behind team-mate Stéphane Peterhansel (France) this time last year, this weekend saw Nani Roma (Spain) complete his home event in the medals for the third time in three participations.

Along with his co-driver Lucas Cruz (Spain), the Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart driver emerged as the biggest threat to early leader Nasser Al-Attiyah, and the Spanish pair did all they could to keep up the pressure all the way to the finish. They lost ground with two punctures on the first full day of competition (Friday), however, and were then hampered in their bid to strike back by hanging dust on Saturday morning. Despite his best efforts at the wheel of his petrol-powered Pajero/Montero Evolution MPR13, Roma was forced to recognise the performance advantage that the current regulations hand the diesel cars of his rivals. "It's a situation we just have to live with for the moment in the knowledge that everyone at MMSP and in Japan is working very hard to prepare for the future," he observed during the event.
Indeed, the Spaniard had been able to judge the potential of the new diesel engine that will spearhead Mitsubishi's challenge in the years ahead when he came close to winning May's Rali Transiberico in Portugal with the latest Pajero/Montero Evolution MPR14. Meanwhile, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation recently revealed the exciting new diesel-powered Mitsubishi Racing Lancer MRX09 which is due to take over soon from the exceptionally successful Pajero/Montero.

The latest 3 liter V6 powerplant is currently under intensive development, and Hiroshi Masuoka/Pascal Maimon (Japan/France) provided a glimpse of its speed with a second fastest time on the first day of the 25th anniversary Baja Espana. Unfortunately, the Japanese driver's challenge came to an end on the following leg when his MPR14 was consumed by flames. Masuoka was trying to get back onto the stage after an off on Saturday afternoon when the hot brakes of another car that had left the road at the same place set fire to the surrounding grass. Both machines were destroyed in the ensuing blaze.

Happily, nobody was hurt but the incident occurred just minutes after the team had received news that Luc Alphand/Gilles Picard (France) and their MPR13 were also stopped on the same stage, the longest of the weekend. The French driver had fallen sick shortly before the start of the event with a case of suspected food poisoning, but he succeeded in limiting the damage on Leg 1. He figured in the top-three behind Roma for much of the day but was squeezed off the podium near the finish of Friday's final stage after shattering his two left-hand side wheels against a rock. The next morning saw him bounce back to close to within less than a minute of third place but his run was ultimately halted by a transmission problem on Saturday afternoon.

"It's been a very tough event and a difficult weekend for all the team," declared Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart Director Dominique Serieys. "We did our absolute best, but we faced several problems which prevented us from showing our true potential in terms of outright performance. All three crews lost time with punctures resulting from impacts with rocks on Leg 1. They suffered again in Saturday morning's hanging dust, and then we had Hiroshi's fire on Saturday afternoon� Nani kept up the fight all the way and he did well to finish second overall, but it is important that we take the lessons this rally has taught us onboard for the future."

"We unfortunately lost the Pajero/Montero Evolution MPR14 which was destroyed in Saturday's fire," said Osamu Nakayama the President of MMSP SAS. "That is obviously very disappointing, but this car carried out a very important mission for us as we developed our new V6 diesel engine. It covered more than 8,000km in testing and competition and this work was key to preparing the foundations for the development of the Mitsubishi Racing Lancer MRX09. A page has turned, but I am pleased to confirm that the new car is already at a very advanced stage. We will now focus our energy on making it as competitive as possible in the time we have available before the 2009 Dakar."

The 2008 Baja Espana was marked by glorious sunshine from start to finish, with temperatures peaking in the mid-30s (deg C) on all three days. The final leg's 126.74km stage (SS6) took competitors through high ground to the south of Zaragoza, via a route which passed constantly from one valley to another over passes situated at altitudes of up to 600 metres. The lower-lying land took crews through freshly harvested hayfields, while the scenery was dotted in many places with wind-farms and solar panels. Nani Roma profited from SS6 to claim his first fastest time of the weekend, but he was fully aware that only a problem for the leader would permit him to finish any higher than second. "It was too easy for All-Attiyah to control from in front today," he recognised. "I suppose second overall is better than not finishing at all, but we are a team that competes to win, so the way this year's Baja Espana unfolded was particularly frustrating; especially when you see all the effort and risks you take to gain time over the twisty sections wasted as soon as the terrain gets faster. But OK, we've got lots of encouraging developments coming up for the future and, despite my natural disappointment today, that is a very exciting prospect."

Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart's competitive programme will continue with an entry on the inaugural Pax Rally which takes place in Portugal on September 9-14. The second fixture of the newly-created Dakar Series will feature similar terrain to last May's Rali Transiberico (won by Mitsubishi's Luc Alphand and Gilles Picard) but will not include any action in Spain.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Bruno Saby retires from International Rallying

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Friday, July 18th, 2008

X-raid’s Nasser Al-Attiyah takes comfortable lead in Baja Spain

ZARAGOZA (Spain): Frenchman Bruno Saby has taken the decision to retire from

international rallying during the second day of the Baja Spain Aragon, round three of the 2008 FIA International Cup for Cross-Country Bajas.

The Grenoble driver was lying sixth overall with the AlgoDyne Green Power Racing Team after the first selective section of the Baja Spain Aragon, but took the decision to quit before the second longer selective section on Friday.

Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and Swedish co-driver Tina Thorner held a comfortable overall lead after the first day in their X-raid BMW X3CC. The pair were fastest on both the selective sections and headed into the overnight halt with a 4m 46s lead over Spaniard Joan Roma.

X-raid Portugal’s Filipe Campos held third position and X-raid Russia’s Leonid Novitskiy was eighth overall.

“I was not sure of the pace at the start of the first stage because I was running first on the road and I lost around 40 seconds in the first 50km,” admitted Al-Attiyah. “But then I speeded up and found a good safe pace. I quickly moved ahead of the Mitsubishis and have a good lead. The plan now is to push hard on Saturday and try and extend the lead without making any mistakes.”

Saby’s sudden decision to retire from international motor sport brings down the curtain on a career that has spanned over 40 years and seen him win rallies in various disciplines at the highest level.

Saby, 59, won the Dakar Rally with co-driver Dominique Serieys in 1993 and was a former factory driver for the Lancia Abarth and Peugeot Talbot Sport teams in the FIA World Rally Championship.

He replaced the late Colin McRae in the X-raid team before the 2007 UAE Desert Challenge and was a former driver for Team Mitsubishi Ralliart and Volkswagen Motorsport, winning the 2005 Patagonia-Atacama Rally and the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies with the German team.

Saby entered the first of his 39 WRC rallies in 1973 and took his maiden victory in Corsica during the halcyon days of the FISA Group B category in 1986. He also won the 1988 Monte Carlo Rally, before switching to the exciting discipline of Cross-Country rallying after the 1991 Lombard RAC Rally.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mitsubishi Pajero Sport SUV

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New Mitsubishi Pajero Sport SUV
to be unveiled at 2008 Moscow Motor Show

Tokyo July 17 2008 -- Mitsubishi Motors Corporation will unveil its new Pajero Sport*1 SUV model at the Moscow Auto Salon 2008 (The Moscow Motor Show) to be held at the Crocus Expo in Moscow between August 26 and September 7 (opens to the public on August 29). The new Pajero Sport will be phased in selected regions*2 such as Russia, the ASEAN area, the Middle East, Latin America and Oceania starting in the fall this year.

*1: The model will carry a different name in different markets: Montero Sport in South America, Nativa in Latin America and Challenger in Australia.
*2: The new Pajero Sport will neither be sold in Central & Western Europe nor in North America, where other types of SUVs are favored.

The new Pajero Sport features dynamic and sporty exterior lines, complemented by a stylish and vast interior space that engenders a sense of comfort, purpose and safety. This cabin, available in either a 2-row (5-passenger) or 3-row (7-passenger) seating configuration is also very practical with water-repellent seats and a waterproof luggage compartment floor, ideal for leisure use.

Mitsubishi's latest SUV will be powered by a choice of three engines which all deliver outstanding motive performance and fuel economy: 2.5-liter and 3.2-liter common rail direct injection diesel units and a 3.5-liter V6 gasoline unit*3.

In terms of architecture, the body of the Pajero Sport is mounted on a new ladder frame to realize high levels of durability and reliability, consistent with the needs of its target markets.

Pajero Sport

Mitsubishi's All Wheel Control philosophy, forged through its participation in the Dakar Rally and other contests, informs all of the company's 4WD systems. The new model will use the Super Select 4WD system, also used in the Pajero*4 SUV, which transmits drive torque effectively to all four wheels on all types of surface. The body, frame and driveline not only give Pajero Sport outstanding off-road performance but allow it to deliver excellent drive dynamics over all surfaces.

The choice of the Moscow Motor Show to unveil the new Pajero Sport is a clear indication of Russia's eminent position within Mitsubishi Motors. In fiscal 2007 Mitsubishi Motors sold some 100,000 vehicles on the Russian market, boosted by the ever successful Lancer line-up and a popular range of SUVs.
Pajero Sport

MMC is confident that the new Pajero Sport SUV will make a strong addition to its SUV range, which also includes the Pajero and Outlander. Coming on the heels of the introduction of the Lancer*5 sports sedan last year, this will allow MMC to expand SUV sales and hit a total sales volume of 140,000 units on the Russian market in fiscal 2008.

*3: Russian-spec vehicle will only be available with the 3.2-liter diesel engine and 2-row, 5-passenger capacity seating arrangement.
*4: "Montero" in Spanish-speaking countries and "Shogun' in the UK.
*5: Galant Fortis in Japan.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mitsubishi Introduces new 'Racing Lancer' (MRX09) for the 2009 Dakar

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Mitsubishi Introduces new 'Racing Lancer' (MRX09) for the 2009 Dakar
Tokyo, July 16, 2008 — Mitsubishi Motors Corporation has developed a new competition car, the Racing Lancer, whose mission will be to target victory on next year's Dakar which breaks new ground in 2009 with a switch from Africa to South America. For Mitsubishi Motors, not only does the Dakar serve as a platform for the sales and marketing of the Pajero/Montero but it also provides a unique proving ground for powertrains and 4WD transmission systems. In light of the corporate decision to focus the firm's cross-country rallying activities on the development of a new diesel engine, Mitsubishi Motors sees it as a natural step for the Lancer (known in Japan as Gallant Fortis), a commercially and globally important model powered by the diesel powerplant, to take over the competition baton from the Pajero/Montero and the Pajero/Montero Evolution. The technological expertise accumulated thanks to the firm's cross-country rally program - which includes the Dakar - will be applied to its diesel engine development, including the new-generation clean diesel that will power the future production cars. Meanwhile, as was previously the case, the 4WD systems technology will also be carried over to the production versions after their configuration has been optimized as a function of their end-use.

Under its new corporate communication tagline 'Drive@earth', Mitsubishi Motors has a commitment to providing the joy of mobility for customers worldwide while at the same time taking a responsible stance on the environment. Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart will also play an important role as an integral part of the automobile research and development program.

The Racing Lancer is a Super Production Cross-Country Rally car, which has been developed in compliance with the FIA's Group T1 regulations (modified cross-country rally cars). It also complies with the new rules due to come into force in 2010. Needless to say, the new rally car has profited from the technical expertise and experience gained with the Pajero/Montero and the Pajero/Montero Evolution which secured 12 outright Dakar wins during its uninterrupted 25-year participation on the celebrated African event, a sequence which began with the fifth edition of the rally in 1983. The MRX09 features a new, multi-tubular steel frame which has benefited from advanced CAE analysis with a view to optimizing the layout and dimensioning of the tubing. The car will be powered by the 3.0-liter V6 turbocharged diesel engine which the company is currently developing on qualifying rounds of the 2008 Dakar Series and the 2008 FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup. The carbon-fibre bodywork of the MRX09 is redolent of the Lancer Sportback, a new sporty hatchback due to be released on the European market this summer. The new car will be equipped with the same 4WD system, drive train, suspension and brakes following their modification in accordance with the new technical regulations and as a function of the characteristics of the diesel turbo powerplant.
* MRX09: the new codename for Mitsubishi's latest cross-country rally challenger. 'MRX09' stands for 'Mitsubishi Rally 'Cross Country'('X'), plus a suffix for the year in which it competes ('09' = 2009).

Technical specification
Overall length 4,475mm
Overall width 1,990mm
Wheelbase 2,900mm
Track (front/rear) 1,750mm/1,750mm
Weight 1,900kg
Engine 2,997cc V6 turbocharged diesel
Maximum power more than 190kW (260hp)
Maximum torque more than 650Nm (66.3kgm)
Transmission Ricardo five-speed sequential, manual
4WD system permanent four-wheel drive with limited slip central differential


Mitsubishi Wins Dramatic APRC Rally of Hokkaido

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ROUND 4: Rally Hokkaido
12 - 13 June 2008

Mitsubishi Wins Dramatic APRC Rally of Hokkaido

Team MRF Mitsubishi driver Katsuhiko Taguchi (Japan) won a dramatic Rally of Hokkaido taking victory in the final stages from Hiroshi Yanagisawa (Japan) in the Cusco Subaru by 2.3 seconds and moving into the drivers championship lead with 43 points, 3 points in front of main rival Cody Crocker(Australia).

Rally of Hokkaido is based in the city of Obhiro, but the main event takes place in the forests around Rikebetsu 100 kilometres to the north. Many of the roads used in this years event were previously used by the World Rally Championship Rally Japan and a mixture of forestry and county roads. Months of dry weather ended a few hours before the start, turning the previously dry and dusty route into treacherously slippery tracks, especially in the forestry stages that sit under a canopy of trees.
On the first day Taguchi moved into the APRC lead on stage 2 and after 5 stages held a 15 second advantage over fellow Japanese driver Hiroshi Yanagisawa, with Australian Cody Crocker 5 seconds further back in third. But the event changed dramatically on Stage 6 when a huge rain-storm rolled after the mountains near Rikebetsu just as the drivers entered Puray 2- a 30km stage and the longest of the event. Amidst flashes of lightning, booming thunder and torrential rain the drivers did their best to race in the atrocious conditions, fighting to control their cars in the channels of running water. The leading competitors were slowed by having to push through huge amounts of water and Taguchi second on the road, dropped over 35 seconds to Yanagisawa, who moved into a 20 second lead. At the end of Day 1 Taguchi said " The roads were like a river, even on a long straight we could only get to 100kph because of the water pressure, incredible!. We loose a lot of time but still we are in third place and only 21 seconds from the lead".

The biggest mover was Taguchi's MRF team-mate Gaurav Gill (India) who charged into 2nd place in APRC benefitting partly from his lower start position but also proving that the young Indian has huge potential for the future. At final service Gill said 'Thank goodness we made it back here in one piece. Very pleased with my finish position today and quite surprised we made up so much time on the other guys, but I guess they were clearing the road of the all the water, so its a bit of luck and that's what rallying can be about - especially on a day like today. We plan to do the same tomorrow and hold our position, hope it doesn't rain though we want a dry run" . Gill got his wish for fine weather but unfortunately his challenge only lasted to the 3rd stage of the second day when he retired with a broken gearbox. Also out with gearbox problems was Australian Scott Pedder, retiring in Stage 2.
Day 2 and Taguchi's challenge for the lead started well "This morning we calculated we had 80 kilometres to run and 21 seconds to take the lead". At the mid-day service the gap was down to only 4 seconds, but the final few seconds proved hard to get. "In the afternoon Yanagisawa-san was pushing really really hard and we can only catch him by a half second here and there. It was very close in the end - very tough but a good race. The whole event was very fast, as everyone knows the roads very well - even me. I won Group N here in Rally Japan last year, but then the gap was over one minute, this time only a few seconds - finally we could win this rally, so really really good".

Taguchi's win takes him to the top of the APRC drivers championship points and on track to take the title back he first won in 1999. Rally Hokkaido is Taguchi's second APRC win in 2008 after taking victory in the first round in New Caledonia. The next event on the APRC calendar is the Rally of Indonesia, an event known for extreme heat and thick dust.

Monday, July 14, 2008

MLR bags Guinness record

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Monday, 14 July 2008


* 273 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions drive on track at once
* Event raises over £7,400 for the Richard Burns Foundation

On Saturday 12th July the Mitsubishi Lancer Register (MLR) – the UK based organisation for owners and enthusiasts of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution – successfully created a new World Record for the largest ever parade of ‘Evos’. The event took place at Castle Combe Racing Circuit in Wiltshire, England and was fully supported by Mitsubishi Motors UK.

On the day, 273 Lancer Evolutions congregated in the paddock, grouped together by colour. At 5:00 pm the cars started to be ushered onto the track to drive the required 2 miles of the circuit at a constant speed - in colour co-ordinated formation - making this a truly incredible sight. The achievement was officially confirmed by Laura Farmer of Guinness World Records at 5:27 pm, who presented a certificate to the World Record Event Manager Ian Corcoran shortly after the parade.

“It has taken a small team of MLR members a huge amount of time and effort over the last year to pull this World Record attempt together, but to see it finally come to life on Saturday was incredible”, said Darin. “Everyone involved had a great day and to see so many Evos on track all at once whilst history was in the making was truly spectacular. We were delighted with the support we received from Mitsubishi UK and for their generous contribution to our chosen charity.”

Thanks to the generosity of the MLR members and Mitsubishi Motors UK, the event raised £7,459.27 for the Richard Burns Foundation.

The event was also supported by: SJS Design, Xtreme Sports Photography and RC Developments.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Dakar has to be the toughest race in the world

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Etienne Lavigne : “the Dakar has to be the toughest race in the world.”

What conclusions can be drawn about registrations for Dakar 2009 ?
The result is excellent. It’s a real success ; we’ve received almost 600 applications. There is a very real enthusiasm for the 2009 edition. This proves, quite simply, that the Dakar is unique – always a great adventure, and it is inimitable. The Dakar goes on - and continues to inspire dreams.
I would like to take advantage of this interview to extend my heartfelt thanks to all the competitors who’ve registered for the Dakar 2009, in spite of the difficult context, -those people have shown a great deal of confidence in us.

Can you tell us a bit more about Dakar 2009 ?
This will be a really great event ! Believe me, we have rarely been so excited as we were by what we saw on our reconnaissance trips – what a discovery !
Breathtaking landscapes, and such incredible diversity ! Time and time again, we stopped in our tracks - simply to admire our surroundings. It is indescribable – nature in a pure state.

In concrete terms, what is the course like ?
The route is ambitious - remember, we’ll be doing 6,000 km of specials ! It will be extremely varied - there will be fast, very fast, steering, sand, and dunes – drivers will need the skill to adapt to different race conditions from one day to the next. The route will be both testing and demanding... People will have to be very well prepared, physically.

So should competitors expect a difficult route ?
Yes. We are organising the Dakar, not a walk in the park, and the Dakar has to be the toughest race in the world.

In practical terms - will there be bivouacs ?
Of course ! And every day ! This is another example of where competitors are going to be very surprised. We’ve selected extraordinary locations – for example, alongside the Atlantic and Pacific oceans ! And in the middle of the Pampa, we’ll be offering sumptuous and wild bivouacs ! In places where we can really make the most of the natural environment around us !
The ‘Bivouac’ spirit with catering, briefings, all the competitors coming together to share their experiences… It’s essential, this is the Dakar spirit, these are our values.

So the competitors won’t be staying in hotels ?
No ! As in Africa, it’s a personal choice. Those who want to stay in hotels can drive a few kilometres and find just what they’re after…

Is the Dakar popular in South America ?
For our friends in Argentina and Chile, hosting the Dakar is like organising the World Cup ! When the competitors are welcomed by 500,000 spectators in Cordoba, the words ‘human warmth’ will really come into their own ! The enthusiasm being generated by the Dakar in Argentina and in Chile is immense, the participants will receive a real hero’s welcome.

Changes to the rules ?
The technical regulations for cars, bikes and trucks will be identical to those for the Dakar 2008.

What about the media ?
There are no worries on this front ! The Dakar will be broadcast in 180 countries ! The media actively seek to be part of the adventure; their level of curiosity is very high.
Amateurs will be at the forefront, and we want to take advantage of this new Dakar to remind people of a few essential values: this is above all a course made for amateurs, with the presence of professional teams. This is where the magic of Dakar lies.
The T2 category will also be very well-supported – to give a simple example, the T2 vehicles will be identified by very brightly-coloured plate backgrounds, so that journalists will be able to identify the vehicle category in an instant.

A word on the venue for the next Dakar ?
All the categories will be fiercely contested, as they were at the Central Europe Rally ! And above all, we should enjoy a fabulous race from the independents ! Gache, Delecour, Lavieille, Muller, Monteiro, Gordon, Henrard, Kahle, Patissier, Errandonea, Vigouroux... I’m bound to have forgotten someone… And in T2 – what a fight ! The differences are often infinitesimal !
As for the bikes, again the number of outsiders is impressive...
As well as the trucks, which are once again going to offer us a superb race !

How does your calendar look over the next few months ?
A third reconnaissance phase in July, September and October. Then preparation for the first part of the Le Havre scrutineering – a busy schedule !

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The 2009 Dakar sold out!

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The 2009 Dakar sold out!

More than 550 entry forms have been received six months ahead of the start, it’s already a success for the Dakar Argentina-Chile. Because it really is “the Dakar” that will be run in Argentina and Chile from January 3-18, 2009.

New regions worthy of the most difficult rally in the world will provide the competitors all they will require to push their limits. Those who like to surpass their capabilities have answered in mass for this all-new challenge.

From May 15 to June 15, the competitors who had been chosen for the 2008 Dakar were given a sign up « grace period » and they will make up 65% of the field of the next Dakar.

After the six weeks following the start of the inscription period, more than 500 teams had already been chosen, after a review of their entry form, to take part in the next edition of the rally. Among them, 16% are first time participants

The field will be, as last year, world-class with the presences of factory teams and the top independent teams.

This summer, the reconnaissance runs will continue on as will all the preparations in order to ensure this new challenge is a success.

Unchanged, unequalled, inimitable, the Dakar remains the Dakar



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10 JULY 2008


Following the victory of Luc Alphand and Gilles Picard (France) with the petrol-powered Pajero/Montero Evolution MPR13 on May's Rali Transiberico, Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart continues its 2008 cross-country program with a three-car line-up for the Baja Espana, round three of the 2008 FIA International Cup for Cross Country Bajas.

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) and its motorsport unit MMSP have entered Pajero/Montero Evolution MPR13s for Luc Alphand/Gilles Picard and Joan 'Nani' Roma/Lucas Cruz (Spain), while Hiroshi Masuoka and Pascal Maimon (Japan/France) make their return to the competitive scene with the latest diesel-engined MPR14.

Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart travels to Spain with the objective of repeating its one-two finishes on the Baja Espana in 2005 and 2007, although Team Director Dominique Serieys (France) is expecting some stiff opposition. "This event is the third of the program we announced at the beginning of the year," he explains. "We go to Zaragoza with two main objectives. The first is to keep our drivers and co-drivers match fit in readiness for the challenge of the 2009 Dakar which awaits them in South America next January. Indeed, the Baja Espana stages are fairly representative of the terrain they can expect in Argentina in six months' time. Our other aim is to continue the development of the diesel-engined Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution MPR14 which showed significant promise on the recent Rali Transiberico. It claimed three stage wins in the hands of Nani Roma and has just returned from an encouraging test in southern Spain and Morocco where we were able to validate several solutions aimed at enhancing its endurance and speed. As was the case on the Central Europe Rally, it will be driven by Hiroshi Masuoka whose co-driver Pascal Maimon has fully recovered from the fractured ankle he sustained in Romania. Nani and Luc will spearhead our bid to win the Baja Espana with the MPR13 for the third time in four years, but success for the diesel car is by no means out of the question. There will be a strong field, though, and we will need to hit the ground running."

Hiroshi Masuoka has every intention of doing his best to repeat Roma's leading performance at Transiberico. The Japanese driver is particularly upbeat following the team's recent test work with the new car, but acknowledges that he lacks recent experience of the Baja Espana. "I last contested this event some 15 years ago," he confirms, "and it was a very different event back then. However, I'm delighted to say that Pascal Maimon is now 100 per cent fit again after a final operation to the ankle he fractured on the Central Europe Rally in April. On top of that, we've just come back from a very positive 3,000km test which has taken the diesel-engined MPR14 a further step forward. It has improved enormously since the CER - especially the engine cooling system - and should be even more powerful and reliable. It would be fantastic if I could give it its first win..."

Nani Roma came close to depriving his Japanese team-mate of that honour when he emerged on top of the provisional leaderboard on the recent Transiberico before losing ground on the penultimate day. For his home event, the Spaniard will be back behind the wheel of the familiar petrol-powered Pajero/Montero Evolution. "The plan was always for me to drive the MPR13 on the Baja Espana," he says. "I was fortunate enough, however, to try the MPR14 at Transiberico. I quickly got a feel for the driving style it required and I was proud to become the first person to post a fastest time with it. The pace of the Baja is faster than that of the Transiberico, but I think the MPR14 is capable of another top performance. That obviously won't stop me trying to win with the petrol-engined car, although it won't be easy because there's a strong entry, including Luc Alphand of course. It's an event I know well, though: I won it four times on two wheels and then once, in 2005, with Mitsubishi. It's also very close to my home, so I am hoping for a good run again this year."

Like Roma, Luc Alphand has seen the Baja Espana evolve from the days when it used to be a 900km uninterrupted dash to today's more conventional format. "For sure, the Baja Espana has changed, and I have some fond recollections of my early visits to this event," says the Frenchman who won outright in 2003. "But motor sport is changing all the time and cross-country rallying is no exception. For example, the pace of the two events we have contested so far this year - namely the CER and the Transiberico, which I won - is much quicker than in 2007. Today's Baja Espana shares a certain number of similarities with the Transiberico, although the stages in the Zaragoza region tend to be faster on the whole. The weather is generally much hotter and drier, too, and the dusty surface of those portions that are repeated can often turn into a sort of fesh-fesh sand which is quite a challenge. I'm expecting another very close fight, but our sights are set on victory..."

The four-day, Zaragoza-based baja, which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary, has traded Madrid as start venue on July 17th for the small town of Alcaniz, situated a little more than 100km to the southeast of the event's host city. Scrutineering and a short spectator stage (3.00km) will be held in Alcaniz before the event moves on to Zaragoza for three action-packed days divided into seven further stages, including two attempts at the 2.50km Colin McRae Memorial spectator stage.

The event ends in Zaragoza on the afternoon of Sunday July 20th after covering 1,493km for a total competitive distance of 880,40km. Two of the stages exceed 200km and the longest test of the weekend is Saturday's 235.30km SS4 (Longares/Alcaniz/Belchite).

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Mitsubishi Galant Fortis Ralliart [JP]

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Mitsubishi Motors announces launch of
Galant Fortis RALLIART premium sporty 4WD sedan

Tokyo, July 9 2008 -- Mitsubishi Motors Corporation announces the addition of the premium sporty 4WD RALLIART trim level to the Galant Fortis sedan series. The new model raises the driving pleasure bar while retaining all the utility and comfort qualities of the base model. RALLIART comes with a price tag of 2,982,000 yen and goes on sale at affiliated dealership throughout Japan today.

Launched in August 2007 Galant Fortis*1 was MMC's first new sedan model in seven years. It has been well received by customers looking principally for everyday utility plus a taste of sporty performance, while the Lancer Evolution X*2 finds favor with those drivers looking to enjoy a serious sport driving experience, participation in motorsport events included. The new Galant Fortis RALLIART strikes an excellent balance between everyday driving comfort and fun-to-drive dynamic performance and as such will meet the needs and demands of a wide spectrum of customers.

*1 Lancer in markets outside Japan.
*2 Lancer Evolution in markets outside Japan.

Galant Fortis RALLIART

I. Product walkaround

1. Exterior
The car features a unique front bumper designed to reduce air resistance. Increasing the size of the "jet-fighter" grille, an element of the MMC sedan design identity, both improves engine cooling and with the chrome treatment of its perimeter enhances the premium look to the car. The bottom edge of the bumper is designed as an air dam for improved handling and vehicle stability at higher speeds.
The engine hood uses a lightweight aluminum panel with an air scoop to feed the turbocharger; twin air outlets discharge heat from the engine compartment.
The unique rear bumper accommodates twin tail pipes. The bumper's design enhances airflow control and contributes to better straight-line stability at higher speeds.
The factory-fitted option rear decklid wing-spoiler generates effective downforce.
The grille and trunk lid carry the RALLIART emblem.

2. Interior
The interior uses an elegant deep black color scheme while the dashboard features an ornamentation panel comprising a geometric check pattern and silver pin beading that adds a mechanical taste and gives the cockpit a sporty, high-quality appearance.
The unique instrument cluster dials use matte black faces with white high-contrast graphics for excellent legibility.
The steering wheel and shifter knob are wrapped in luxurious genuine leather. The aluminum accelerator and brake pedals are fitted with non-slip rubber strips.
The front seats keep the occupant securely and comfortably positioned and use high-grip suede-knit upholstery. The shoulder bolster carries the RALLIART tag.

3. Engine
Galant Fortis RALLIART is powered by an intercooler-turbocharged 4B11-type 2.0-liter 16-valve DOHC MIVEC*1 high-performance engine. With the focus on low- to mid-range torque, the engine uses a single-scroll turbocharger. Optimization of the cooling and exhaust systems boosts output to maxima of 177 kW (240 PS) / 6000 rpm and 343 Nm (35.0 kg-m) / 3000 rpm.
Galant Fortis RALLIART returns 10-15 mode combined driving pattern fuel consumption of 10.2 km/l (filed with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism), and earns a 3-star rating for emissions that are 50% better than the Japanese 2005 Emission Standards.
*1: Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control system

4. Transmission
Galant Fortis RALLIART is fitted with Mitsubishi's Twin Clutch SST (Sport Shift Transmission) automated manual transmission that allows the driver both the fun and economy of a manual gearbox plus the convenience and comfort of an automatic transmission. The Twin Clutch SST used on the Lancer Evolution X has been modified for Galant Fortis RALLIART with different ratios for 5th and 6th gears to give improved fuel economy in high-speed cruising on longer trips.
The driver has the choice of two automated shifting modes: NORMAL for maximum fuel economy and comfort in everyday driving; and SPORT with shift characteristics best suited to sportier performance.

5. Full-time 4WD system
Galant Fortis RALLIART uses a full-time 4WD system comprising a front helical limited slip differential, an Active Center Differential*2 and a mechanical rear LSD. These components as well as Active Stability Control*3 and Anti-lock Braking*4 are all electronically and integrally managed by Mitsubishi's vehicle dynamics control system to deliver an optimum balance between sure-footed traction and steering feel, cornering and braking performance.
The driver can select between three ACD modes: TARMAC for dry paved surfaces; GRAVEL for wet tarmac or loose unmade surfaces; and SNOW for snow-covered surfaces.
*2: Electronically regulates the speed differential between front and rear wheels and feeds optimal level of drive torque to each wheel.
*3: Improves stability by suppressing wheel spin and sudden changes in vehicle behavior on slippery surfaces or caused by sudden steering inputs.
*4: Retains braking and steering control by preventing wheels from locking up under emergency braking and also uses Electronic Brake force Distribution for the efficient distribution of braking power to each wheel for different road surface and vehicle load conditions.

6. Body and chassis
Galant Fortis RALLIART uses Mitsubishi's RISE*5 high-rigidity safety body that gives enhanced multi-directional crashworthiness in frontal, rear and side collisions. The front bumper, engine hood, fenders and cowl are designed for enhanced pedestrian protection.
The suspension features stiffer control arms and mountings and the use of high-rigidity cast iron trailing arms at the rear. These changes and optimization of spring rates and shock absorber damping give RALLIART sportier handling, vehicle stability and ride.
RALLIART uses 16-inch 2-pot caliper ventilated disc brakes at the front and with optimization of front and rear systems; delivers braking that matches its higher power output.
RALLIART rides on 18-inch 7JJ alloy wheels fitted with 215/45R 18 89W tires.
*5: Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution

Mitsubishi Owners Day 2008 - CA, USA

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Mitsubishi Owners Day 2008 - CA, USA

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


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Tuesday, 08 July 2008

~ Goodwood Festival of Speed, 11th-13th July 2008 ~

* Mitsubishi shows all-electric i-MiEV SPORT technology concept and the Concept-cX, the new ‘baby Outlander’
* Both cars show the green focus of Mitsubishi’s future product plans

Mitsubishi i-MiEV SPORT
Based on the i-MiEV (Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle) city car, which is expected for sale in the UK in 2009, the i-MiEV SPORT showcases the sporty potential of the zero-emissions electric vehicle.

The car features Mitsubishi Motors' unique in-wheel motors in the front plus the company's vehicle dynamics control system - S-AWC (Super All Wheel Control) to achieve high manoeuvrability and environmental performance.

Like the i-MiEV, the i-MiEV SPORT uses a rear-midship design in its layout. Making use of the relatively long wheelbase of this platform, a high-capacity lithium-ion battery is installed in the lowest area under the floor, and components including a motor and inverter are arranged beneath the luggage compartment.

The aluminium space frame is light, rigid and strong; helping to improve performance by minimizing weight.

The powertrain system employs three permanent magnetic synchronous motors. One in-wheel motor is placed at each front wheel and a single motor drives the rear wheels, similar to the "i-MiEV" system. An E-4WD system electronically optimizes the output of all motors.

Energy-saving environmental innovations are seen throughout the i-MiEV SPORT. Effective use of energy is achieved by installing an auxiliary photovoltaic generator on the roof, a power-generating fan inside the front grill, and regenerative braking functions to recover energy when the car is slowing down. Much of the lighting is by bright, power-saving LEDs, included in the rear combination lamps and vehicle interior, and the efficiency of the air conditioning is enhanced by the use of heat-absorbing window glass.

In addition, Green Plastic — Mitsubishi Motors' unique plant-based resin technology — is used wherever possible for interior components.

i-MiEV SPORT Specifications:

Overall length: 3,450 mm
Overall width: 1,600 mm
Overall height: 1,400 mm
Wheelbase: 2,550 mm
Seating capacity: 2 + 2 people
Motor: Permanent magnet synchronous motor-style (front); single motor (rear)
Maximum output: Front: 20 kW × 2; rear: 47 kW
Maximum torque: Front: 250 Nm × 2; rear: 180 Nm
Maximum speed: 180km / h
Range (10 15) mode: 200km
Drive system: E-4WD
Tyre Size: 175/45R17

Mitsubishi Concept-cX
The Concept-cX will be shown as the new ‘baby Outlander’ combining over 70-years of four wheel drive experience with an innovative global environmental strategy. The Concept-cX, when launched, will be the showcase for the CO² friendly all-new Euro 5 Clean Diesel family of engines to be launched in 2009 as well a number of other green technologies.

The new engine is planned to have class-topping power output and Euro 5 emissions performance include a new high-efficiency turbocharger and high-efficiency combustion characteristics developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Motors.

Sharp in design and in dynamics, Mitsubishi’s Concept-cX boasts an excellent environmental performance to be seen in the low fuel consumption and emission levels achieved by its 100 kW (136 ps) @ 4,000 rpm / 280 Nm @ 2,000 rpm next generation 1.8-litre Clean Diesel DOHC 16 valve 4 cylinder engine.

Amongst other technologies, it features a variable geometry (VG) turbocharger – to generate optimum boost pressure for all engine loads – as well as DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) and DOC (Diesel Oxidation Catalyst). The 1.8 litre Clean Diesel engine is mated to Mitsubishi Motors’ Twin Clutch SST technology.

Concept-cX’s further green credentials include eco-friendly “Green Plastics”, MMC’s proprietary plant-based resin technology - made from bamboo and other plant-based resins, used for interior trim materials, such as floor mats, door trim, tail gate trim and seat back panels.

Its on-road abilities are further enhanced by the use of Mitsubishi’s sophisticated AWC (All Wheel Control) technology, similar in essence to the device successfully introduced with the new Outlander.
Concept-cX Specifications:

Overall length: 4,100 mm
Overall width: 1,750 mm
Overall Height: 1,550 mm
Wheelbase: 2,525 mm
Weight: 1,360 kg
Riding capacity: 5 / 7 people
Engine: 4-cylinder / 1,799 cc DOHC, 16-valves common rail with Solonoidal injector fuel system. “Clean Diesel” Euro 5 with Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) and Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC)
Turbo: Variable Geometry (VG) turbocharger
Maximum output: 100 kW (136 ps) @ 4,000 rpm
Maximum torque: 280 Nm @ 2,000 rpm
Maximum speed: 180km / h
Transmission: Electronically piloted All Wheel Control system with Twin Clutch-SST (Sports Shift Transmission)

Mitsubishi Colt 1.1 Attivo [UK]

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Tuesday, 08 July 2008


* New Special Edition for Mitsubishi’s super-mini range
* Alloy wheels and free metallic paint add customer value
* Supported by competitive finance packages

Mitsubishi has announced the addition of a new Special Edition to its super-mini range with the Colt 1.1 Attivo (meaning ‘energetic’ and ‘lively’ in Italian).

Just like the name suggests, the 1.1 litre engine puts out a healthy 74bhp at 6,000 rpm with 100 Nm torque at 4,000 rpm and 51.4 mpg (combined mode) making this an efficient and nippy little city car.

Standard equipment now sees the addition of 14” alloy wheels and free metallic paint over the CZ1 specification for just a £500 premium, along with Radio / CD player, ABS with EBD, remote central locking and driver and passenger airbags (passenger side can be disabled).

All this comes for just £7,999 for the 3-door and £8,499 for the 5-door and the Special Edition is also supported by some competitive finance packages as customers feel the pinch of the global credit crunch. Low rate finance or 50:50 finance will be offered, with 3-door advertising featuring low rate finance with a £1,994 deposit, and £135 monthly payments at 9.6% APR and 5-door advertising featuring 50:50 finance.

Demonstrator vehicles are already with Mitsubishi dealers with 300 units ready to go as demand is expected to be high with the soaring cost of fuel, and sales of efficient small cars on the increase.

The Colt Attivo is available in Lunar Silver (metallic), Illusion Blue (metallic), Atlantis Blue (metallic), Sparkling Black (metallic) and Spicy Red (solid).

Monday, July 7, 2008

2009 Lancer Ralliart - New pics!

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The 09 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart destined for the US used to have gunmetal colored wheels, but from the recently released pictures from MMNA, of what is suppose to be a production model 09 Lancer Ralliart, the wheels are all aluminum alloy color. No words though on what features did or did not make the production specs. High-res photos to follow when they are made available. Check back often...

New photos..

Old photos from an earlier press release..

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Mitsubishi Motors to start car sales operations in Korea

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Mitsubishi Motors to start car sales operations in Korea
-MMSK, Mitsubishi Motors' sole distributor in Korea, established for new market entry -

Seoul, July 3 2008 - Mitsubishi Motors Corporation announces that, as one of the key elements of its strategy for the Asian region in fiscal 2008, it is to enter the built-up car sales business in Korea working through its sole distributor in that country MMSK Corporation (see profile below).

MMSK is a Japanese/Korean joint venture recently set up by Daewoo Motor Sales Corp., Incheon, Seoul Metropolitan City, Korea; President and CEO, Lee Dong-Ho), Mitsubishi Corporation (Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; president and CEO, Yorihiko Kojima) and Mitsubishi Corporation (Korea) Ltd. (Seoul, Metropolitan City, Korea; president and CEO, Tsutomu Awaya). MMSK will work to grow and develop MMC's distribution, sales and after-sales servicing businesses in Korea.

Starting in October 2008 MMSK plans to phase the introduction of MMC's Lancer Evolution high-performance 4WD sedan, Outlander mid-size SUV, Eclipse sports coupe, Lancer sports sedan and Pajero all-round SUV models onto the Korean market. MMSK aims to sell 400 units in the first year and increase volume to 3,000 units by 2010.

The phased introduction of MMC's best-selling models into Korea where the imported car market is currently growing very rapidly will allow MMC to establish and boost penetration of the Mitsubishi brand with its products meeting the needs of a wide spectrum of customers.

MMSK: sole distributor of MMC cars in Korea
Company name: MMSK Corporation
Head office: Seocho-gu, Seoul Metropolitan City, Korea
President & CEO: Mr Choi Jong-Yeol
Establishment date: March 2008
Capitalization: 14 billion Won (approx. 1.4 billion yen)
Shareholders: Daewoo Motor Sales Corp 85%
Mitsubishi Corporation 10%
Mitsubishi Corporation (Korea) Ltd. 5%
Business lines: Import, sales and after-sales servicing of MMC cars and parts