Monday, November 17, 2008

Evo X wins Dave TV's "Sports car of the Year"

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Monday, 17 November 2008

LANCER EVOLUTION X WINS ‘SPORTS CAR OF THE YEAR 2008’

*Public vote sees Evolution X take the crown against some stiff, and expensive competition
*New looks, power and value are a big hit with Dave judges and viewers

Sports Car of the Year 2008
This year’s ‘Car of the Year’ final on Dave TV announced that Mitsubishi’s Lancer Evolution X has won the Sports category ‘Car of the Year’. The new car was up against some very tough – and in some cases very expensive - competition, including the new VW Scirocco and the Porsche 911.

Awesome power
In a public vote the Evo X won out with its sophisticated, yet menacing looks, and all the power and handling to back up its rally-bred credentials. The panel of judges, including Mike Rutherford, Alistair Weaver, Ben Oliver and Nick Gibbs found that the car had “awesome amounts of power” and that the new Twin Clutch SST gearbox was excellent.

The viewing public seemed to agree as well, voting the Mitsubishi muscle car into top slot ahead of all its rivals.

Friday, November 7, 2008

2009 Mitsubishi Outlander [US] is IIHS "Top Safety Pick"

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2009 Mitsubishi Outlander Arrives in Dealers Sporting an Important Safety Award and Valuable Refinements
October 30, 2008 -- Cypress, Calif. --
After receiving a complete redesign this year, the 2009 Mitsubishi Outlander now sports a "Top Safety Pick" award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and several refinements designed to make it even easier for consumers to select an Outlander as their next vehicle. The 2009 Mitsubishi Outlander is now arriving in dealerships nationwide.

Earlier this year, the IIHS put the Outlander through its comprehensive battery of front, side and rear crash tests and found it worthy of its highest rating in each category. It was one of only four CUVs in its class to reach the IIHS' highest level.

"The Outlander's right-sized blend of car, sport and utility is true to the ideal of a CUV," said Mitsubishi Motors North America Executive Vice President Dan Kuhnert. "Anchored by the positive IIHS results and great efficiency, it makes a balanced choice among crossover utility vehicles."

Several important changes to the mix of standard and optional equipment highlight the sporty yet practical 2009 Outlander:

* Three-row seating is now available on the four-cylinder Special Edition (SE) models (it remains standard on the V6 XLS model).
* XLS models now share interior upgrades with SE models, including Sport fabric seats with leather bolsters.
* A new rear-view camera is included in the navigation system on XLS models.
* There's an additional 10 GB of storage on the navigation system's digital music server, for a total of 40 GB.
* The comprehensive Convenience Package is now standard on the ES 4WD model.
* Rain-sensing wipers with new flat-type aero blades and automatic on/off headlamp control are now included in the Luxury Package on XLS models.
* The Outlander XLS is newly distinguished by chrome-plated door handles and chrome grille and side sill accents.

The Outlander continues to offer a choice of a 168 hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with Sportronic® continuously variable transmission (CVT) or a 220 hp, 3.0-liter V6 engine with Sportronic® six-speed automatic transmission with magnesium paddle shifters. Both engines employ the Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing and lift Electronic Control (MIVEC) technology that helps optimize power and efficiency. Both engine/transmission combinations are available with either front-wheel drive or an electronically-controlled full time four-wheel drive system known as All-Wheel Control (AWC).

Four-wheel independent suspension and innovations, such as an aluminum roof panel that lowers the center of gravity, contribute to the Outlander's competent balance of sporty handling and comfortable ride. Standard Active Stability and Traction Control (ASTC) and an Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) provide extra driving confidence.

The new-for-2008 body design continues to give Outlander a sporty and solid character, with strong fender flares that communicate a stable, muscular stance. Inside, the Outlander reveals its practical side, with a roomy cabin sporting a hefty maximum cargo volume of 72.6 cu. ft.

To help make easy work of all that cargo space, the Outlander comes standard with a flap-fold tailgate. The upper portion of the two-piece gate opens upward to allow lighter items into the cargo area, while the lower part folds down effortlessly to offer a classic tailgate with a low (24-inch) load height. The tailgate transitions to a flat cargo floor, making it supremely easy to load bulky objects. Tailgate parties are optional.

Key standard features on Outlander include the FAST Key (Freehand Advanced Security Transmitter) keyless entry system that allows passive vehicle unlocking and engine start/stop by carrying the remote control; air conditioning; AM/FM/CD audio system with MP3 playback capability and six speakers; cruise control and power windows and door locks.

All Outlanders have a comprehensive passive safety package that includes dual-stage front air bag SRS with front passenger occupant sensors, front seat-mounted side-impact air bags and curtain side air bags.

The Outlander comes in four trim levels: Four-cylinder ES or SE and six-cylinder LS or XLS, each with differing levels of equipment. Several option packages are available: 650-watt Rockford-Fosgate Premium audio system, Sirius Satellite Radio, Bluetooth® hands-free telephone interface, navigation system, xenon HID headlamps and leather seating surfaces.

All Outlanders come with a fully transferable five-year/60,000 mile "bumper-to-bumper" new vehicle limited warranty, plus a 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain limited warranty and a seven-year/100,000 mile anti-corrosion perforation limited warranty. All Mitsubishis also come with five-year unlimited mile roadside assistance benefits.

The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts at $20,925 for the Outlander ES two-wheel drive four-cylinder and $24,925 for the LS two-wheel drive V6.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hirvonen wins Japan but Loeb wins overall championship

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Hirvonen wins Rally Japan but Loeb secures the Championship


Mikko Hirvonen completed the short final stage in Sapporo this afternoon to take victory on Rally Japan, while third place for Sebastien Loeb was enough to secure him the 2008 WRC drivers’ title.

Hirvonen crossed the finish line with a winning margin of 31.1sec but even the best possible result this weekend wasn’t enough to prevent Loeb sealing the series. However the Finn was quick to pay tribute to his rival at the end of the stage: “That’s it, it’s over. But okay, he won 10 events before coming here so he deserves it. I did all I could. Now we need to try again next year.”

After their heart-stopping spin on the penultimate stage, Loeb and his co-driver Daniel Elena climbed onto the roof of their C4 at the finish control, waving a French flag in celebration. “It’s incredible!” said Loeb. “But that was a terrible rally - it couldn’t have been trickier! It’s a great moment. It’s perfect. I’m so relieved this weekend is over now. Last year Daniel and I equalled the record with four wins, so being the only ones to do five we are very happy!”

Jari-Matti Latvala finished second, helping Ford to a maximum 18 point haul in the manufacturers’ championship, and ensuring the battle would go to the final round in Wales. “It’s very good for the team and very good for me,” he said. “After such a bad time in August I can be happy. There was a time when our good result in Turkey seemed a long way away, but now I can be happy again.”

Chris Atkinson finished fourth in his Subaru World Rally Team Impreza WRC2008, while the Suzuki World Rally Team celebrated its best ever result with sixth and seventh. “It’s been fantastic,” said P-G Andersson, who was sixth. We made a great start but after losing the tyre yesterday I though that was it - but we got ourselves together and pushed hard again today.” Toni Gardemeister said: “I’m really happy this rally is over - it’s not so nice at all! But it was a good result for our team for sure.”

Matthew Wilson brought his Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Focus to the finish in seventh place, while Subaru driver Petter Solberg was eighth, the last points winning place.

-WRC

Monday, November 3, 2008

Racing Lancer takes first win at 08 Baja Portalegre

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FIA INTERNATIONAL CUP FOR CROSS COUNTRY BAJAS
BAJA PORTALEGRE 500
02 NOVEMBER 2008
DAY 3

NERPOR - NERPOR (Portugal):
Road section: 0.10km - Service (10 minutes) - Road section: 28.33km
SS4: 110.00km
Road section: 5.86km - Rally finish
Total distance: 144.29km

VICTORY FOR RACING LANCER OF TEAM REPSOL MITSUBISHI RALLIART ON ITS FIRST EVENT

MITSUBISHI RACING LANCER'S FIRST VICTORY

A polished performance from Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret (France) and everyone at Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart on this weekend's Baja Portalegre 500 has taken the brand new Racing Lancer to its first victory, straight from the box. Mitsubishi's latest cross-country rally car, which will take over from the successful Pajero/Montero Evolution on next January's Dakar, ran perfectly reliably throughout the three-day Portuguese event to win by the margin of 4 minutes 3 seconds after 515.16km of stages.

What counted possibly more than the final result, however, is the fact that the team was able to profit from the final round of the 2008 FIA Cup for Cross-Country Bajas to validate recent development work on the new car in the specific conditions of the fast, twisty mountain tracks near Portalegre.

The Racing Lancer also covered some 5,000km in southern Morocco shortly before the start of this weekend's competition and Team Director Dominique Serieys (France) is particularly pleased with the outcome of this solid, long-term groundwork: "Today's result rounds off another successful season for Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart which ends 2008 with three wins and two second places to its name. Everyone has done a tremendous job ths year. That includes the stafat MMSP, the people at MMC who look after the engines and, of course, our four crews. It was Stéphane who took the spoils today, but Nani Roma (Spain), Luc Alphand (France) and Hiroshi Masuoka (Japan) have all played vital roles, too."

This weekend saw Stéphane Peterhansel and his co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret recover from a harmless spin on Friday's super-special and a puncture on Saturday morning's SS2 to pull more than four minutes clear at the top of the leaderboard by the end of Day 2. A quick, yet safe pace then enabled the French pair to come through this morning's drier but equally tricky 110km stage to kick off the Racing Lancer's competition career on a high note. "After more than a year of hard work to make the Racing Lancer as competitive as it is today, it is a fitting reward for everyone in the team to have kicked off the new car's scorecard with a victory here in Portugal," observed the French driver. "It was an honour for me to be chosen by Mitsubishi to give the Racing Lancer its first outing, and it's nice to have succeeded in paying back that confidence with a win."

Having steered the petrol-powered Pajero/Montero Evolution MPR13 to victory on September's PAX Rally, which visited the same part of Portugal as this weekend's Baja, Stéphane Peterhansel is ideally qualified to compare the performance of the Racing Lancer with that of its predecessor. "I was especially impressed by two things over the past three days," he reported. "The first concerns the engine: the new 3-litre V6 marks a big improvement in all areas, but it is especially strong out of the slower turns. You can feel the torque and acceleration of the turbo-diesel powerplant pull you through the corner and give you the speed for the next straight� The car's other main strength is its chassis. An event like the Portuguese Baja calls for a specific configuration and we essentially defined a basic set-up for the weekend by extrapolating from what we learned in Morocco. Those settings worked extremely well, and I was pleasantly surprised by the ability of the suspension to soak up the terrain, as well as by the front-end's directional precision."

"Although this event was short, the conditions turned out to be quite varied, and that was obviously positive for our mission here in Portugal," added co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret. "The terrain was essentially twisty, but quite fast and very delicate, too, so we were able to establish some good benchmarks. We also succeeded in keeping to the initial game-plan to win with a big enough margin to cover a possible puncture on the final day."

Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart will remain in Portugal after the Baja Portalegre 500 for a little further testing before spending time in Spain, for engine calibration work at high altitude. With the 2009 Dakar fast approaching, the car which contested this weekend's event will continue to be used for testing duty, while the official shakedown of the four cars currently under construction for the rally itself will take place in France (Le Creusot), on December 15, before their transport to South America by plane five days later.

FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION
Pos Driver
Co-Driver
Nat Vehicle Cat Total
Time
Diff
Leader
1
Stephane Peterhansel
Jean-Paul Cottret
F
F
MITSUBISHI RACING LANCER T1.2 6:11:48 **:**:**.*
2
Filipe Campos
Jaime Baptista
P
P
BMW X3 T1.2 6:15:51 4:03
3
Miguel Barbosa
Luis Ramalho
P
P
BMW X3 T1.2 6:22:25 10:37
4
Tonnie Van Deijne
Wouter Van Deijne
NL
NL
MITSUBISHI L200 EVO T1.1 6:35:50 24:02
5
Pedro Grancha
Paulo Primaz
P
P
NISSAN NAVARA OFF ROAD T1.1 6:37:06 25:18
6
Ricardo Leal dos Santos
Joao Luz
P
P
BMW X5 T1.2 6:38:39 26:51
7
Miroslav Zapletal
Tomas Ourednicek
CZ
NL
MITSUBISHI L200 T1.1 6:40:44 28:56
8
Joao Ramos
Jesus Vitor
P
P
TOYOTA RAV 4 T1.2 6:47:52 36:04



Juho Hanninen wins P-WRC battle in Rally Japan

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FIA PRODUCTION CAR WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
RALLY JAPAN
2 November 2008
DAY 3

MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION DRIVERS DELIVER PERFECT RESULT ON RALLY JAPAN
All-Mitsubishi battle between Juho Hanninen and Andreas Aigner for FIA Production Car World Rally Championship on final round


JUHO HANNINEN / MIKKO MARKKULA

At the end of three exceptionally tricky days of rallying on the mountain roads around Sapporo, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution drivers filled eight of the top 10 Group N positions on Rally Japan. Juho Hanninen (Finland) won the event and now takes a commanding lead into the final round of the FIA Production Car World Rally Championsip in Wales next month.

Hanninen admitted he hadn’t been pushing for the win, through the final day’s nine stages east of the rally’s base at the Sapporo Dome, but when leader Evgeny Novikov (Russia) slowed in the final two tests, Hanninen moved to the front to clinch his third maximum P-WRC point score of the season.

The success of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution on Rally Japan is the 15th straight victory in the Group N category of the World Rally Championship. And this latest win came before tens of thousands of cheering and adoring rally fans from the home of the Lancer Evolution, Japan.

The final day had been far from a straightforward affair for any of the world’s fastest drivers, with torrential rain making the stages incredibly slippery this morning.

Hanninen now needs to finish fifth or higher in the P-WRC on December’s Wales Rally Great Britain to clinch his first world title. It’s hardly surprising the Finn is looking forward to his next event.

“This rally started badly for me, but then got better and better,” said the winner. “Today was tough, though. The rain in SS23 - Sikot – was just incredible. The water was so deep in the roads that the car was aquaplaning a lot. It wasn’t nice to drive in these conditions, you just had to come through. Luckily, we were in a good position and we didn’t need to take the risk. We pushed harder in the final stage, when it looked like we could be in a position for taking the win. Now it’s all down to the final round. The rain has given us some good preparation for the last rally in Wales. That’s an event I really like, now I just need to get the right result. The car has been perfect here, no problem at all.”


EVGENY NOVIKOV / DIMITRY CHUMAK

Novikov was naturally disappointed at missing out on his first P-WRC win, but second place remains a strong result for the 18-year-old. Behind the Russian teenage sensation, Eyvind Brynildsen (Norway) collected fourth place after a trouble-free final day in his Lancer Evolution and it was a similar story for Mirco Baldacdi (San Marino) in sixth. The good news for Mitsubishi fans was the P-WRC debut of the Lancer Evolution X. Both cars entered in the P-WRC category of Rally Japan finished and collected points on their first time out – an incredible achievement for a brand new car at this level of rallying.

Home heroes Katsuhiko Taguchi (Japan) was seventh and Fumio Nutahara (Japan) eighth in their respective Lancer Evolution Xs. Nutahara, a seasoned P-WRC campaigner, said: “This is a very good car. We have had a good rally. Okay, we have the puncture which is not so good, but driving the new Lancer has been very nice. It’s a strong car.”

Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala (both Finland) finished one-two for Ford in the overall standings, but it was Citroen and Sebastien Loeb (France) who did most celebrating in Japan, with Loeb collecting his fifth consecutive drivers’ title.

The next and final round of the P-WRC and WRC is Wales Rally Great Britain (December 4-7).

FIA PWRC CLASSIFICATION
Pos Driver
Co-Driver
Nat Vehicle Grp
Pos
Total
Time
Diff
Leader
1 Juho HANNINEN
Mikko MARKKULA
FIN
FIN
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVO IX N
1
3:43:30.4 **:**:**.*
2 Evgeny NOVIKOV
Dale MOSCATT
RUS
AUS
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVO IX N
2
3:43:36.7 6.3
3 Toshi ARAI
Glenn MACNEALL
J
AUS
SUBARU IMPREZA WRX STi N
3
3:43:39.6 9.2
4 Eyvind BRYNILDSEN
Mathieu GIRAUDET
N
F
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVO IX N
4
3:47:18.2 3:47.8
5 Takuma KAMADA
Naoki KASE
J
J
SUBARU IMPREZA WRX STi N
5
3:47:53.5 4:23.1
6 Mirco BALDACCI
Giovanni AGNESE
RSM
I
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVO IX N
6
3:50:11.0 6:40.6
7 Katsuhiko TAGUCHI
Mark STACEY
J
AUS
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVO X N
7
3:51:25.1 7:54.7
8 Fumio NUTAHARA
Hakaru ICHINO
J
J
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVO X N
9
3:58:39.3 15:08.9





Saturday, November 1, 2008

Racing Lancer takes lead in the 2nd day of Baja Portalegre

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FIA INTERNATIONAL CUP FOR CROSS COUNTRY BAJAS
BAJA PORTALEGRE 500
01 NOVEMBER 2008
LEG 2

NERPOR - NERPOR (Portugal):
Road section: 0.10km - Service (10 minutes) - Road section: 7.17km
SS2: 140.00km
Road section: 5.86km - Service (40 minutes) - Road section: 7.30km
SS3: 258.98km
Road section: 5.86km - Service (3 hours)
Total distance: 425.37km


TEAM REPSOL MITSUBISHI RALLIART'S NEW RACING LANCER TAKES CONTROL TO MARK ITS DEBUT IN PORTUGAL

The first full day of competition has seen Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret (France) power the Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart Racing Lancer to the top of the Baja Portalegre 500's provisional leaderboard. The Mitsubishi pair lost a little ground on Friday's short super-special but profited from this morning's 140km stage to the southwest of Portalegre to take control of the fifth and final round of the 2008 FIA Cup for Cross-Country Bajas.

The new Racing Lancer, which is making its competition debut this weekend in Portugal, continued to revel in the cold, damp conditions on the day's second test (258.98km) to pull even further clear and take the French crew 4 minutes 10 seconds clear of their closest chasers with just 110km of competitive action remaining on Sunday morning.

"I pushed quite hard on the first stage, although I tried to keep my driving as smooth and tidy as possible, because the conditions were extremely treacherous and I didn't want to take any risks," reported Stéphane Peterhansel at service this evening. "We dropped a little ground after stopping to change a punctured tyre after 25km but we managed to recover that time to claim SS2 by 32 seconds. The Racing Lancer feels really competitive. You can sense all the torque pulling you out of the tighter corners and up the steeper climbs. I was very pleased with the front suspension, too; I found it to be very precise and efficient on this type of terrain. We kept to the same sort of rhythm on this afternoon's longer test because that was equally as tricky, with lots of water on the ground. The problem was that the conditions weren't predictable, so you had to be on the alert all the time just in case you came across a big puddle under braking, for instance"

"There was effectively plenty of standing water about," confirms Stéphane Peterhansel's co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret. "The conditions were very slippery and it could have been so easy to get caught out in certain places. But like Stéphane, I thoroughly enjoy the relatively fast stages in this region which is basically the same part of Portugal which hosted the Rali Transiberico and the PAX Rally earlier in the year. On top of that, the fact that we lost time on Friday afternoon meant that we had a low start order, and that actually turned out to be a good thing: there was absolutely no dust, of course, and the first cars through tended to cut through the slippery top film to expose a firmer base underneath, which meant we benefited from good grip."

Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart Director Dominique Serieys praised his crew for their brighten performance over today's challenging terrain, but repeated that the team is here in Portugal with a view to adding kilometres on the new Racing Lancer's clock: "The weather conditions really weren't nice, especially early on, but Stéphane and Jean-Paul did a fine job to come through the day unscathed. They are professionals and know what is expected of them this weekend, which is essentially to fine-tune the final details of the new Racing Lancer's development before January's Dakar."

The programme of the last day of the 2008 Baja Portalegre 500 features a single 110km stage before the finish ceremony in Nerpor/Portalegre later in the morning. Following the poor weather that has marked the event so far, crews could well be greeted by a little sunshine as they set off for the final leg early on Sunday morning.

OVERALL CLASSIFICATION AFTER LEG 2
Pos Driver
Co-Driver
Nat Vehicle Cat Total
Time
Diff
Leader
1
Stephane Peterhansel
Jean-Paul Cottret
F
F
MITSUBISHI RACING LANCER T1.2 4:47:33 **:**:**.*
2
Filipe Campos
Jaime Baptista
P
P
BMW X3 T1.2 4:51:45 4:12
3
Miguel Barbosa
Luis Ramalho
P
P
BMW X3 T1.2 4:57:33 10:00
4
Pedro Grancha
Paulo Primaz
P
P
NISSAN NAVARA OFF ROAD T1.1 4:59:44 12:11
5
Tonnie Van Deijne
Wouter Van Deijne
CZ
CZ
MITSUBISHI L200 EVO T1.1 5:04:03 16:30
6
Ricardo Leal dos Santos
Joao Luz
P
P
BMW X5 T1.2 5:10:08 22:35
7
Miroslav Zapletal
Tomas Ourednicek
CZ
NL
MITSUBISHI L200 T1.1 5:12:25 24:52
8
Joao Ramos
Jesus Vitor
P
P
TOYOTA RAV 4 T1.2 5:16:30 28:57






Mitsubishi leads the way in Day 2 of Rally Japan

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FIA PRODUCTION CAR WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
RALLY JAPAN
1 November 2008
DAY 2

MITSUBISHI LANCER DRIVERS LEAD THE WAY THROUGH DAY2 OF RALLY JAPAN

Russian driver Evgeny Novikov maintained his grip on the FIA Production Car World Rally Championship standings of Rally Japan, leading the field throughout today’s 10 stages close to the city of Sapporo. The stages were devoid of the snow which caused the cancellation of two tests yesterday – and, despite the cold conditions, the sun shone throughout the day.


EVGENY NOVIKOV / DIMITRY CHUMAK

Novikov’s Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution ran without fault for the duration of the day, allowing him to head into tomorrow’s third and final day of the event with a clear shot at taking his first ever P-WRC win. Beyond Novikov’s continued success, there was more to cheer from the Mitsubishis, not least a scorching drive back up the leaderboard from flying Finn Juho Hanninen. Hanninen’s was the drive of the day; starting ninth in P-WRC this morning, he would end the day in second place.

He set fastest time on six of the 10 stages during the day, but admits he’s unwilling to risk everything in a final-day fight for the lead.


JUHO HANNINEN / MIKKO MARKKULA

“I don’t know if I need to win this rally,” said Hanninen. “Maybe I don’t. Certainly, if there’s the chance of the puncture or breaking the car, I’m going to slow down. One of the good things for me is that tomorrow’s stages are similar in nature to today’s, they’re fast and flowing – just as I like them.”

Hanninen started Rally Japan four points adrift of P-WRC series leader Andreas Aigner (Austria). Second place tomorrow afternoon would mean he headed into the final round of the championship four points ahead. This was clearly playing on the mind of the Finn.

“I’ve pushed harder today,” he admitted. “The stages have been a lot faster. They’ve suited me more than the twisty, slippery ones yesterday. But now I’ve got to think about things before tomorrow. The good thing is that, once again, the Mitsubishi has run perfectly. The only problem we’ve had today was the lights this afternoon. We didn’t have the right lights on, so running the dark was really tricky. That’s where we lost the time.”

It was the same story for Novikov, although winning the rally was definitely at the forefront of the 18-year-old’s mind.

“I was steady this morning,” said Novikov. “I wanted to be safe, not to take risk. I pushed harder this afternoon, but still I am trying to look after the car. I am a little bit concerned about [Juho] Hanninen, he seems to be coming quite quickly. Okay, we’ll see.”


FUMIO NUTAHARA / HAKARU ICHINO

The P-WRC top 10 was, once again, packed out with Lancer Evolutions. Crucially, both of the latest-specification Lancer Evolution Xs were still running in strong points-paying positions although Fumio Nutahara’s (Japan) day was spoiled by a puncture which cost two minutes on SS16. Katsuhiko Taguchi (Japan) was one place ahead of Nutahara, but his day didn’t get off to the best of starts.


KATSUHIKO TAGUCHI / MARK STACEY

“We hit the same post as everybody else in the first stage,” said Taguchi. “Unfortunately for us, it flattened the exhaust and so cost us some power from the car. That made the morning a bit tricky, but after that it’s been good.”

Further up the order, early P-WRC leader Eyvind Brynildsen’s (Norway) hopes of getting back into the lead were dashed when he suffered broken suspension after dropping his Mitsubishi into a big hole in SS18 – the final dirt test of the day. He was fourth in P-WRC with Mirco Baldacci (San Marino) two places further back in sixth.

At the head of the field, Ford men Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala (both Finland) maintained their one-two placings, while Sebastien Loeb (France) retained third place in his Citroen.


FIA PWRC CLASSIFICATION
Pos Driver
Co-Driver
Nat Vehicle Grp
Pos
Total
Time
Diff
Leader
1 Evgeny NOVIKOV
Dale MOSCATT
RUS
AUS
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVO IX N
2
2:34:01.3 **:**:**.*
2 Juho HANNINEN
Mikko MARKKULA
FIN
FIN
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVO IX N
3
2:34:20.4 19.1
3 Toshi ARAI
Glenn MACNEALL
J
AUS
SUBARU IMPREZA WRX STi N
4
2:34:22.1 20.8
4 Eyvind BRYNILDSEN
Mathieu GIRAUDET
N
F
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVO IX N
5
2:35:31.6 1:30.3
5 Takuma KAMADA
Naoki KASE
J
J
SUBARU IMPREZA WRX STi N
6
2:35:59.8 1:58.5
6 Mirco BALDACCI
Giovanni AGNESE
RSM
I
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVO IX N
7
2:36:40.7 2:39.4
7 Katsuhiko TAGUCHI
Mark STACEY
J
AUS
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVO X N
8
2:37:02.2 3:00.9
8 Fumio NUTAHARA
Hakaru ICHINO
J
J
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVO X N
9
2:39:26.6 5:25.3


FUMIO NUTAHARA / HAKARU ICHINO


KATSUHIKO TAGUCHI / MARK STACEY

Racing Lancer makes debut on muddy Super Special

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FIA INTERNATIONAL CUP FOR CROSS COUNTRY BAJAS
BAJA PORTALEGRE 500
31 OCTOBER 2008
LEG 1

NERPOR - NERPOR (Portugal):
Road section - 7.27km
SS1 (Super Special) - 6.18km
Road section - 6.71km
Total distance: 20.16km

THE NEW MITSUBISHI RACING LANCER MAKES DEBUT ON THE MUDDY SUPER-SPECIAL IN PORTUGAL SUPER SPECIAL CLASSIFICATION

The cross-country rallying career of the brand new Mitsubishi Racing Lancer kicked off today with the short super-special which served as appetiser for this weekend's 2008 Baja Portalegre 500. However, while Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart would obviously have preferred to have seen the new machine's competition record begin with a fastest time on the short, wet 6.18km test, Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret (France) lost valuable seconds when they nudged a barrier shortly before the finish and were finally accredited with the day's 7th fastest time.

"With all the rain that has fallen in this part of the world recently, the cold, muddy conditions weren't easy, especially since we came here directly from a very long test in the south of Morocco. I was therefore a little short of match practice over this sort of narrow, slippery terrain," explained Stéphane Peterhansel who has been entrusted with the mission of giving the Racing Lancer its debut on the Baja Portalegre 500. "I failed to settle into a good rhythm straight away, and I slid into a barrier just a few corners before the finish line. It took me some time to manoeuvre the car back onto the stage and a few cars passed us in the process, so we've dropped several places overall."

"It's a shame, but by no means a catastrophe," observed Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart Team Director Dominique Serieys (France). "It's obviously never nice to drop time, but the running order of Stéphane and Jean-Paul on tomorrow's stage could actually give them an advantage for the big day they face. Although we would obviously like to mark the Racing Lancer's first outing with a win, the important thing for us this weekend is to learn as much as we can about the car on this sort of terrain and also validate certain aspects of the development work we have covered during the build-up to January's Dakar."

The French driver admits that he and his co-driver Jean-Paul were in two minds prior to the start of today's super-special whether it was preferable to go for a top time, or else take a safe approach to ensure they were not first on the road for Saturday's two long tests which make up the bulk of the Portuguese Baja's competitive distance. "This afternoon's incident means that the decision was taken for us," reflected Stéphane Peterhansel. "The route of this rally is secret, so we don't know what the conditions will be like exactly, but today's super-special didn't seem to cut up too much. Hopefully the same will apply tomorrow. Given the weather, at least dust won't be a problem."

The second leg of the three-day event is the longest of the weekend, with a total distance of 425.37km to cover, including two stages (140.00km and 258.98km) to the southwest and west of Portalegre respectively. Sunday's programme features a single 110.00km test before the official finish in Nerpor/Portalegre at the end of the morning.



OVERALL CLASSIFICATION
Pos Driver
Co-Driver
Nat Vehicle Cls Total
Time
Diff
Leader
1
Boris Gadasin
Vladimir Demyanenko
RUS
RUS
NISSAN OVERDRIVE T1 5:57.4 **:**:**.*
2
Pedro Gameiro
Manuel Dominguez
P
P
NISSAN NAVARA T1 6:01.1 0:03.7
3
Ricardo Leal dos Santos
Joao Luz
P
P
BMW X5 T1 6:01.6 0:04.2
4
Filipe Campos
Jaime Baptista
P
P
BMW X3 T1 6:04.0 0:06.6
5
Miroslav Zapletal
Tomas Ourednicek
CZ
CZ
MITSUBISHI L200 T1 6:04.1 0:06.7
6
Joao Ramos
Jesus Vitor
P
P
TOYOTA RAV 4 T1 6:04.3 0:06.9
7
Stephane Peterhansel
Jean-Paul Cottret
F
F
MITSUBISHI RACING LANCER T1 6:06.3 0:08.9
8
Tonnie Van Deijne
Wouter Van Deijne
CZ
CZ
MITSUBISHI L200 EVO T1 6:06.3 0:08.9

Mitsubishi dominates P-WRC in day 1 of Rally Japan

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FIA PRODUCTION CAR WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
RALLY JAPAN
31 OCTOBER 2008
DAY 1

MITSUBISHIS DOMINATE P-WRC IN JAPAN, WITH LANCER EVOLUTION X MAKING STRONG DEBUT PWRC CLASSIFICATION

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution drivers hold seven of the top 10 positions in the Production Car World Rally Championship category at the end of day one of Rally Japan. Evgeny Novikov (Russia) leads the penultimate round of the P-WRC, the 18-year-old moving ahead of day-long leader Eyvind Brynildsen when the latter spun his Lancer on SS9.


EVGENY NOVIKOV / DIMITRY CHUMAK

The opening day of Rally Japan was marked by cancelled stages - the third and seventh tests were shelved after heavy snowfall in the lead up to the event, while SS6 was stopped following the accident of Francois Duval (Belgium). In order to ensure the cars were on time for the Sapporo Dome superspecial stage, SS8 was cancelled to make up for the earlier delays. The stages all ran out east of Sapporo through some of the most technical and demanding dirt roads incorporated in the calndar this season.

Through all the drama, Norwegian Eyvind Brynildsen kept his head together and his right foot down. Brynildsen enjoyed a trouble-free run until his spin, which allowed Novikov to overturn the different - which was less than a second - between them.

Novikov said: "It's been hard to find grip on all of the stages today. The twistier stages this morning worked well and we made some good times there, but I think I was too cautious on the faster corners in the fourth stage. I dropped some time there. The first stage after lunch was good, we closed right up on Brynildsen."

Brynildsen, who dropped to third overnight, said: "I had no championship points to worry about here. That meant I can drive at my own speed. I had some understeer from the car, but I think this is because of my style of driving. As well as that, it's hard not to get understeer when the car is following in the ruts all of the time. It's been like driving a train on the rails. The spin on the last stage was very frustrating, it cost about five seconds."

The Russian driver did just that, arriving back in Sapporo with just four tenths of a second separating the top two positions. One of the most exciting stories of the event so far has been the exceptional pace and reliability of the all-new Lancer Evolution X, which makes its World Rally Championship debut on this event.

Multiple Japanese Rally Champion Fumio Nutahara placed his Evolution X in fifth place, with the sister car of Katsuhiko Taguchi one place further back. Nutahara said: "The car has been perfect, we have not had any technical problems. I might make some small adjustments to the suspension, but this is to help to find some more traction in the slippery conditions. The only trouble we had this morning was two slow punctures. We only had one spare tire, which meant I went into SS4 with a deflating right-rear tire. Apart from that, it's a good day - and it's very nice to be driving this car here at home."


FUMIO NUTAHARA / HAKARU ICHINO

It was a similar story from Taguchi. He said: "I am learning very much about this car. I did a small test before the start, but the road was not so much like the rally. The car feels very responsive, very fast. But today has been difficult with the conditions."


KATSUHIKO TAGUCHI / MARK STACEY

P-WRC title protagonist Juho Hanninen (Finland) struggled through the opening leg, running in an unusually low position out of the points. Hanninen admitted the treacherous conditions on the opening loop of stages had caught him by surprise.

"It's been very hard work today," he said. "I couldn't find any grip and there was no rhythm for me in the stages. It was terrible. The fourth stage was a little bit better, but still not so enjoyable. I tried to speed up in SS4, but I was having moments when I tried to make the time up."

At the head of the field, Ford men Mikko Hirvonen (Finland) and Jari-Matti Latvala (Finland) settled into a solid early pace, with Sebastien Loeb (France) starting slowly, but speeding up to make third by the close of play.

FIA PWRC CLASSIFICATION
Pos Driver
Co-Driver
Nat Vehicle Grp
Pos
Total
Time
Diff
Leader
1 Evgeny NOVIKOV
Dale MOSCATT
RUS
AUS
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVO IX N
2
45:49.6 **:**:**.*
2 Toshi ARAI
Glenn MACNEALL
J
AUS
SUBARU IMPREZA WRX STi N
3
45:54.9 5.3
3 Eyvind BRYNILDSEN
Mathieu GIRAUDET
N
F
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVO IX N
4
46:06.1 16.5
4 Mirco BALDACCI
Giovanni AGNESE
RSM
I
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVO IX N
5
46:12.7 23.1
5 Katsuhiko TAGUCHI
Mark STACEY
J
AUS
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVO X N
6
46:15.1 25.5
6 Fumio NUTAHARA
Hakaru ICHINO
J
J
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVO X N
7
46:17.3 27.7
7 Takuma KAMADA
Naoki KASE
J
J
SUBARU IMPREZA WRX STi N
9
46:26.7 37.1
8 Naren KUMAR
Nicky BEECH
IND
GB
SUBARU IMPREZA WRX STi N
10
46:35.4 45.8

Pictures from Shakedown [30-NOV-08]


FUMIO NUTAHARA / HAKARU ICHINO


KATSUHIKO TAGUCHI / MARK STACEY