Saturday, January 31, 2009

Lancer Sportback arrives in the US as a 2010 model, will come in Ralliart trim

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Mitsubishi Motors Brings Versatile New Five-Door Sportback To Award-Winning U.S. Lancer Lineup

January 30, 2009 -- CYPRESS, Calif. --
Mitsubishi Motors North America today confirmed that the versatile all-new five-door Lancer Sportback will arrive in U.S. dealerships this summer for the 2010 model year. The Sportback will meld high performance and progressive design with an extra dose of utility to feed the most active lifestyles. The newest member of the multiple award-winning Lancer family is part of Mitsubishi's refocused efforts to introduce new models designed to meet evolving consumer demands. MSRP will be announced nearer to its summer on-sale date.

"American consumers are increasingly asking for fun, attractive, yet practical cars that complement their active and individual lifestyles," said Dan Kuhnert, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Mitsubishi Motors North America. "The Lancer Sportback answers those calls with a heady mix of performance, aggressive styling and the bonus of greatly increased utility, and will be available in two versions – the economical GTS and high-performance Ralliart. The five-door platform has considerable upside potential in the domestic market."

Mitsubishi designers created a dynamic new shape for the Sportback that is instantly recognizable as a Lancer from the front, with its signature "jet fighter" grille, while being completely fresh from the C-pillar rearward. The key element is a sleekly sloping rear door with integrated "roof wing" that creates a visually distinctive shape while making the Lancer significantly more versatile. The door extends down to the rear bumper to make loading cumbersome objects like surfboards, camping gear and bicycles as easy as possible.

The Sportback's overall length is just slightly longer than the Lancer four-door sedan, yet it gains substantial cargo-carrying flexibility-especially when the 60:40-split rear seats are folded flat. One-touch auto-folding rear seats make the newfound space almost effortless to configure. To add still more volume, the rear cargo-area floor of the GTS version can be cleverly lowered three inches, yielding 52.7 cubic ft. maximum cargo space. The roof will also conveniently accommodate a plug-in Thule® Sport Rack for additional flexibility.

The Sportback's basic architecture, technical features and most optional equipment is shared with the Lancer sedan, a winner of several awards, including:

* J.D. Power and Associates' 2008 Navigation Usage and Satisfaction Study, naming the touch-screen interface system an industry-leader and the first non-premium brand to ever capture the award
* NHTSA 5-Star Safety Rating
* IIHS Top Safety Pick
* CNET Editors' Choice (Lancer Evolution)
* MSN Top-10 New Cars

Sportback GTS models feature Mitsubishi's efficient 2.4-liter engine with 168 horsepower and 167 pound-feet of torque, mated to either a five-speed manual or six-speed CVT automatic transmission.

The Sportback Ralliart is powered by a 2.0-liter MIVEC turbocharged engine that pumps out 237 horsepower and 253 lb.-ft. of torque. All-Wheel Control (AWC) with Active Center Differential (ACD) is standard, as is the quick-shifting six-speed Twin Clutch-Sportronic® Shift Transmission (TC-SST) that it shares with the Lancer Evolution. Both the CVT and Twin-Clutch transmissions include magnesium-alloy paddle shifters.

Premium interior features like those found on the Lancer sedans are also part of the Sportback's resume. Key components in the Ralliart version include a standard 140-watt CD/MP3 audio system with six speakers or an available 710-watt Rockford-Fosgate Premium Sound System, in-dash CD changer with MP3 capability, plus Sirius Satellite Radio. A hard disc-drive navigation system with Mitsubishi's exclusive Diamond Lane Guidance to provide route guidance is optional, as are Recaro sport seats that provide optimal support for the driver and front passenger.

The Lancer Sportback also formed the basis for Mitsubishi's 2009 Dakar Rally effort earlier this year. The Dakar is the most grueling rally race in the world and Mitsubishi vehicles have won the event 12 times since their first attempt in 1983.

As an important test bed for future technology, the Racing Lancers used at the Dakar reflected Mitsubishi's ongoing efforts to minimize the automobile's environmental footprint with such features as clean diesel power, bio-fuel capability and plant-based "green plastic" body components.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Petter Solberg to run his own team with a Citroen Xsara in 2009

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26/1/09
Petter Solberg confirms Citroen comeback

Citroen Xsara WRC 2 run by Kronos Team for Sebastien Loeb

Petter Solberg will drive a privately owned 2006 specification Citroen Xsara WRC on Rally Norway and is planning on tackling the complete 2009 WRC season from then on.

The 2003 World Champion was left without a drive this year after his previous team, Subaru, pulled out of the series at the end of last year. And with no vacancies at the Ford or Citroen factory teams it looked like Petter might face at least one season on the sidelines before another manufacturer deal could be done.

However this afternoon, speaking to exclusively to wrc.com, Solberg said he intends to run his own team for up to 11 rounds this year, to keep up his rally knowledge and buy more time to negotiate a paid drive for 2010.

“I’ll be in the Xsara for Rally Norway and the plan is to do the whole championship from then - although not necessarily with the same car,” said Petter. “Everything I’m doing is being done with 2010 in mind. We’ll start with Norway, with my own team, but I haven’t got the entire 2009 season together yet. I’ve put this deal together in twenty days, and I expect things will change through the season. Nobody knows what the future will bring but I’m happy with what we’ve got for the short term.

“Okay, I know many people think I’m crazy for doing what I’m doing. Would Marcus Gronholm, Tommi Makinen or Colin McRae have done what I’m doing now? - I don’t think so,” he added.

Solberg has tested the Xsara just once, on snow, and described the experience as ‘good fun’. He wouldn’t be drawn on comparisons with the Subaru Impreza - saying he’d have to wait until Norway to see how competitive the car would be.

Rumours earlier this month suggested Solberg might drive for a new Proton WRC team in 2010, and might make a few appearances this year in the Malaysian company’s Super 2000 specification Satira.

Petter refused to discuss specifics today but said the future was looking bright: “I have had a lot of talks with many manufacturers and things are looking very good for 2010 - but let’s deal with that as it comes. For now I’m free to do whatever I want - and that’s the main thing here. As soon as I get something for the future of course I will give it 110 per cent.”

-WRC.com

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

MMNA adds 5 weeks to 2009 Non-Production period.

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Mitsubishi Motors North America Announces Addition of Five Weeks to Non-Production Period


January 27, 2009 -- Normal, IL. --
Mitsubishi Motors North America (MMNA) today announced the addition of five weeks of non-production at its plant in Normal, Illinois, beginning the week of April 6. This additional period now means that a non-production period of a total of twelve weeks will begin February 16, 2009 and extend through May 8, 2009. Production is scheduled to resume on Monday, May 11, 2009.

The twelve week non-production period will optimize inventories of MMNA-produced products in the U.S. and overseas markets.

MMUK Restructures its Motorsports Campaigns in 2009

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Monday, 26 January 2009
MITSUBISHI RESTRUCTURES ITS UK MOTORSPORT CAMPAIGNS

* Works rally team withdrawn from competition in 2009
* Mitsubishi UK looks forward to future motorsport participation
* Evolution Challenge set to continue for ninth consecutive season

Mitsubishi Motors UK has today announced the restructure of its British-based motorsport campaigns. The company has confirmed that its two-car works rally team will not compete in 2009, due to the current economic climate and the subsequent pressures affecting the automotive industry as a whole.

The company’s withdrawal from top-level competition in the UK comes after four years of success in the British Rally Championship and previously a season in the National series.

During the past five years, the team has regularly been at the front of the field. It claimed the National Production title in 2004 and the British Team’s title in 2005, before going on to win both the British Team’s and Driver’s titles in 2007 and 2008.[1]

“As the most successful manufacturer-backed rally team in Britain in recent years it is disappointing to withdraw from competition this season,” said Ralliart General Manager Paul Brigden. “The deciding factor is purely due to the global economic downturn and nothing to do with the smaller issues that we have had to deal with recently.”

Mr Brigden continues: “Since our UK rally programmes began, it has been the company’s wish to participate in British motorsport. Therefore, if market conditions become more favourable, then we will explore every avenue in order to resurrect the works team and continue from where we left off. We would even consider a return in 2010 if circumstances permit.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved with Mitsubishi’s UK works rally programme: our crews, technicians, management team, sponsors and suppliers,” concluded Mr Brigden.

Mitsubishi Motors UK is pleased to report that its successful one-make rally-series, the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge, will continue as planned for its ninth consecutive season this year.

Once again, the official series for Group N Lancers will follow its popular and proven format, aligning itself with the MSA Gravel Rally Championship for six events – plus a round alongside the British Championship. It has also been confirmed that the series will continue to offer a valuable prize fund.

Having taken an interest in circuit racing during recent months, MMUK has stated that it will not officially participate in this form of motorsport until trading conditions improve. However, it has said that it will observe with interest the progress of the new Evo X Series, which was launched at the Autosport Show earlier this month.

i MiEV test drives started in Europe for a possible 2010 launch

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Mitsubishi i MiEV: Start of test drives in Europe

* Test fleet of twelve vehicles underway
* Market launch sought in Europe in 2010
* Mitsubishi's environmental flagship vehicle

Hattersheim, 19 January 2009 - The first customers for the available modern electric car, the Mitsubishi i MiEV (MiEV: Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle) is becoming a reality: In this month to start the official European test drives.

After a multitude of static presentations and test drives of utility companies, regional authorities and governments, companies with large vehicle fleets and development partners across Europe, now shows a fleet of twelve Mitsubishi i MiEV to practicality.

In a joint venture of Mitsubishi Motors Europe (subsidiary of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation) and MC Automotive Europe NV (subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corporation), the test fleet Mitsubishi importers made available to the market potential for electric vehicles, and specifically for the i MiEV explore. Initially, the vehicles in Spain, the Netherlands and England in action. Other European markets are in the course of the year.

The Mitsubishi i MiEV is the flagship of the environmental technology Mitsubishi Motors dar. Initial tests of the vehicle and ideas were already in Japan, New Zealand, the United States of America and Europe. On the market, Mitsubishi will begin in the summer of 2009 in Japan. After the positive conclusion of the current test drives the market in Europe for the year 2010.

1080 kilogram light Mitsubishi is equipped with a permanently magnetized synchronous motor, the 47 kW / 64 hp. The maximum speed is 130 km / h, a charge the lithium-ion batteries guarantee a range of 144 kilometers (European fashion). A fast-charge the batteries is just under 25 minutes.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Mitsubishi Motors to show i MiEV SPORT AIR concept at 2009 Geneva Show

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Mitsubishi Motors to show i MiEV SPORT AIR concept at 2009 Geneva Show



i MiEV SPORT AIR (sketch)

Tokyo, January 26, 2009 — Mitsubishi Motors Corporation is to give the i MiEV SPORT AIR concept model its global debut at the 79th Geneva International Motor Show which runs from March 3 through March 15 at the Geneva Palexpo exhibition and conference complex (opening to the general public on March 5).

The i MiEV SPORT AIR explores the future possibilities for zero-emission vehicles, placing a greater bias on exhilarating driving pleasure. The concept model exemplifies the balance between environmental and dynamic performance implied in the tagline Drive@earth, and highlights the benefits of the Mitsubishi electric vehicle drivetrain:

* Powerful, instant torque from a beefed-up electric motor
* Stable driving and handling and a low center of gravity, due to the in-floor lithium-ion battery
* Zero on-road CO2 emissions

Together, these features along with the car's "clear cutaway" top allow the driver to enjoy the exhilaration of fresh-air motoring while also highlighting its eco-friendly qualities.

Friday, January 9, 2009

09 Dakar is turning out to be the worst so far for Mitsubishi, Peterhansel stopped with broken engine in Stage 7

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10:41 - Car
300 - Peterhansel on fire!

Due to a fire in the engine of his Mitsubihsi Racing Lancer, Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel, the title holder, has stopped after 57 km of the day’s special. The driver and co-pilot have managed to put the fire out, but do not know if they will be able to set off again.

11:15 - Car
300 - “Peter” still having problems

After a fire in the engine of his Mitsubishi after 57 km, Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel reached the 91-km mark on the day’s special 10.40 behind the provisional leader, Spaniard Carlos Sainz. The title holder had to stop again after 80 km due to his engine overheating.

13:00 - Car
300 - Breakdown for “Peter”!

After a fire in his engine at the beginning of the day, then overheating problems, the title holder, Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel (Mitsubihsi) is currently halted on the special stage, due to a broken engine and is waiting to have his car towed out of the timed section. This could be the second abandon due to mechanical problems for the Frenchman, 9 times winner of the event and who is taking part in the Dakar for the 20th time.

-ASO
At this point, the frenchman's hope is dashed and retirement is imminent. In stage 5 he flipped his car, but that's a lucky escape because the guys at at the bivouac was able to fix the vehicle in time and Peterhansel is only awarded a 15min penalty for missing a check point.

As it things unravel in Stage 7, it is highly unlikely that Stephane is going to restart tomorrow. If he ever does, he is going to incur a heavy penalty. Engine overheating has caused some big name retirements for the 09 Dakar. Nasser Al-Attiyah retired yesterday from overheating problems too. Looking at the stage profile for today, it's easy to see why. Towards the end of the stage the elevation just keeps rising, from 500m above sea level to 3100m towards the end of the stage.



Nani Roma and Lucas Cruz have had a relatively good run so far. Hopefully they will finish the race. If all goes well for Nani, a 13th victory for Mitsubishi is still possible. It is just so unusual for the defending champion team to lose 3 of 4 cars even before the Rest Day tomorrow. Until then, we wait for the official press release from Mitsubishi.

-rcpax

Luc Alphand retires from 09 Dakar in Stage 6, Peterhansel and Roma are the only hopes for victory

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2009 DAKAR RALLY
8 JANUARY 2009
LEG 6

SAN RAFAEL (Argentina) to MENDOZA (Argentina)
Road section: 76km - SS6: 178km - Road section: 371km
Total Distance: 625km

MITSUBISHI’S CHALLENGE DOWN TO TWO ’RACING LANCERS’ AFTER SHORTENED STAGE INTO MENDOZA



The sixth stage of the 2009 Dakar Rally between San Rafaël and Mendoza marked a day that Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart would rather forget, after team co-driver Gilles Picard (France) was taken ill on the special stage and forced the immediate retirement of his driver Luc Alphand (France) from the race.

Team mates Stephane Peterhansel (France) and Joan ’Nani’ Roma (Spain) finished the stage with the fifth and sixth fastest times, but now hold fifth and fourth in the overall standings, following the withdrawal of Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (Qatar). Both drivers now face an uphill struggle to regain the lost time to outright leader Giniel de Villiers (South Africa) over the coming days.

Today’s special stage was originally shortened from 394km to 232km and then to 178km because of the risk of standing water caused by recent rainfall. Event officials sent a route vehicle into the stage on Wednesday to monitor a river crossing which was already 80cm high and the decision was taken to skip the section on safety grounds.

Mitsubishi’s mechanics finally completed the work on Peterhansel’s and Jean-Paul Cottret’s (France) ’Racing Lancer’ just before the pair were scheduled to leave the bivouac and head into the liaison section to the sixth stage to Mendoza.

Peterhansel had incurred a 15-minute penalty in San Rafaël on Wednesday evening for missing a time control. He eventually set the fifth fastest time.

Luc Alphand (France) was forced to withdraw from the Dakar Rally 12km after the start of the stage this morning, when co-driver Gilles Picard (France) was taken ill assisting Alphand in putting plates under a wheel when they were stuck in a deep mud hole. As a precaution he was airlifted to the bivouac in San Rafaël for medical checks, but Alphand was unable to continue. Picard then underwent an electro-cardiogram test and everything was normal.

Joan ’Nani’ Roma and Lucas Cruz Senra (both Spain) held sixth position through the opening passage control and maintained his position to the stage finish.

Tomorrow (Friday) marks the crossing into Chile and the most varied of the days in this year’s Dakar Rally timetable. Teams leave Mendoza and head into an 80km liaison section, before embarking upon a punishing 419km special stage over twisty mountain tracks in the Andes.

The stage starts near Nueva Californi and winds its way in a north-westerly direction towards the first and second passage controls, before heading south to PC3 and on to a finish at the tourist town of Uspallata in the Andes foothills.

Service vehicles, rally cars and support trucks will cross the border on a sealed surface road at a height of 3,275 metres above sea level between Punta de Vacas and Puenta del Inca, before making the steep descent on to the coastal plain into Chile. The towering peak of Aconcagua, rising to 6959 metres, will be a spectacular sight to the right and is the highest peak in South America.

The entire Dakar caravan will arrive at the overnight halt in Valparaiso on Chile’s Pacific Coast after a further 317km liaison section.

What they said?

Dominique Serieys, Team Director
"The rally has really begun over the last 48 hours and the classification is beginning to move. I must say congratulations to Nasser and BMW for their performance over the last few days. They did a great job, fighting and leading. For us, we have now lost Luc and will concentrate more strongly to apply the pressure on Volkswagen and not leave them alone. Now we have to react and change our strategy. We will see next week."

Luc Alphand
"Of course we are disappointed, but some things are more important than racing. I must admit I was very scared when I saw Gilles fall down. The mud hole was so deep. It was impossible for us to get out. Even the T4 truck had problems getting us out. We were very close to the road book, maybe only a few meters from the track, but it was our mistake that we were slightly wrong and that is racing."

Jean-Paul Cottret
"The last two stages have been hard. The dunes have not been easy. There were trees, grass and other vegetation and it was not easy to find a good path. Today, after the start, we passed through some terrain with a lot of vegetation and it was difficult. Tomorrow is another difficult stage. There is a large section of fesh-fesh, a row of dunes and then we head into the mountains."


Stephane and Jean Paul navigating through the dunes. Tough driving on today's technical and lengthy stage.

Stéphane Peterhansel
"The mechanics did a fantastic job to get my car ready for this morning. I really thought the rally was over yesterday after the accident. We are now in fifth position, but ’Nani’ and I are some way behind the leaders. It will not be easy at all to catch them. There are some long and difficult stages to come, but it is a case of finding where we can, perhaps, make up some of the time."

Joan ’Nani’ Roma
"Every day is difficult. Today we lost another car, but the main thing is the health of Gilles. I know when I have lost a race after an accident your head spins a lot, but the most important thing is the safety of our team. I try every day to go for the win, but 30 minutes is a long time. I will try and push a little, but we will have to see over the next few days."


Nani and Lucas made it through the day, and still in contention for a possible victory.

MITSUBISHI’S SPINELLI RETIRED FROM DAKAR RALLY

Guilherme Spinelli and Marcelo Vivolo (both Brazil) began the sixth special stage of the 2009 Dakar Rally between San Rafaël and Mendoza in Argentina in 10th overall. But the driver’s superb start to the event hit a major set-back when he rolled near the start of the special stage on Thursday morning.


Spinelli and Vivolo had a great run, until today. Hope we see them again next year.

According to team manager Klever Kolberg, the car was removed from the desert and taken back to the bivouac in San Rafael. Spinelli had been the 17th driver into the special on Thursday morning.

Mitsubishi Thailand-backed Mana Pornsiricherd (Thailand) and co-driver Thierry Lacambre (France) were classified 96th overall through the first passage control on the fifth stage into San Rafaël on Wednesday, but Mana became bogged down in the sand dunes in his Mitsubishi Pajero Sports.


Tibau Team Ralliart Thailand and their new Pajero Sport Evolution are believed to have retired today also.

A 4x4 vehicle was unable to tow him out of the sandy trap and he was forced to wait for an assistance truck to remove him from the dunes before he could continue on to the bivouac.

When the leading cars left for the sixth stage into Mendoza on Thursday morning, the Mitsubishi driver was still making his way to San Rafaël and was reliant on event officials permitting him to restart when he arrived at the camp. He had not restarted at 17.00hrs on Thursday afternoon and was believed to be out of the rally.

SS6 CLASSIFICATION
PosDriver
Co-Driver
NatVehicleCatTotal
Time
Diff
Leader
1Giniel DE VILLIERS
Dirk VON ZITZEWITZ
AFS
D
VOLKSWAGEN RACE TOUAREGT1.22:12:33**:**
2Mark MILLER
Ralph PITCHFORD
USA
AFS
VOLKSWAGEN RACE TOUAREGT1.22:12:53+0:20
3Carlos SAINZ
Michel PERIN
E
F
VOLKSWAGEN RACE TOUAREGT1.22:16:03+3:30
4Stephane PETERHANSEL
Jean-Paul COTTRET
F
F
MITSUBISHI RACING LANCERT1.22:20:40+8:07
5Joan ROMA
Lucas CRUZ
E
E
MITSUBISHI RACING LANCERT1.22:21:46+9:13
6Krzysztof HOLOWCZYC
Jean-Marc FORTIN
POL
B
NISSAN NAVARAT1.12:27:25+14:52
7Ivar Erik TOLLEFSEN
Quin EVANS
N
GB
NISSAN NAVARAT1.12:44:40+32:07
8Robby GORDON
Andy GRIDER
USA
USA
HUMMER H3OP12:44:56+32:23
9Matthias KAHLE
Thomas SCHUENEMANN
D
D
HONDA BUGGYT1.32:45:20+32:47
10Thierry MAGNALDI
Guy LENEVEU
F
F
SMG PORSCHE BUGGYT1.32:53:39+41:06

OVERALL CLASSIFICATION AFTER SS6
PosDriver
Co-Driver
NatVehicleCatTotal
Time
Diff
Leader
1
Giniel DE VILLIERS
Dirk VON ZITZEWITZ
AFS
D
VOLKSWAGEN RACE TOUAREGT1.220:59:34**:**
2
Carlos SAINZ
Michel PERIN
E
F
VOLKSWAGEN RACE TOUAREGT1.221:07:13+7:39
3
Mark MILLER
Ralph PITCHFORD
USA
AFS
VOLKSWAGEN RACE TOUAREGT1.221:17:25+17:51
4
Joan ROMA
Lucas CRUZ
E
E
MITSUBISHI RACING LANCERT1.221:30:52+31:18
5
Stephane PETERHANSEL
Jean-Paul COTTRET
F
F
MITSUBISHI RACING LANCERT1.221:34:01+34:27
6
Robby GORDON
Andy GRIDER
USA
USA
HUMMER H3OP122:11:21+1:11:47
7
Krzysztof HOLOWCZYC
Jean-Marc FORTIN
POL
B
NISSAN NAVARAT1.123:32:49+2:33:15
8
Ivar Erik TOLLEFSEN
Quin EVANS
N
GB
NISSAN NAVARAT1.123:49:31+2:49:57
9
Orlando TERRANOVA
Alain GUEHENNEC
RA
F
BMW X3 CCT1.223:50:09+2:50:35
10
Rene KUIPERS
Filipe PALMEIRO
NL
P
BMW X3 CCT1.225:19:13+4:19:39


Team Ralliart Assistance truck. The team's "service department" and "towing service" on wheels.


Nani Roma and Lucas Cruz with their Racing Lancer trying to climb up a big dune of fine powder sand

-Press Release and Media by MMSP, Team Thailand Ralliart, photo captions by rcpax

Thursday, January 8, 2009

All 3 Racing Lancers continue to hang on top 10 in Leg 5, Peterhansel flips over near the end of stage

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2009 DAKAR RALLY
7 JANUARY 2009
LEG 5

NEUQUEN (Argentina) to SAN RAFAEL (Argentina)
Road section: 173km - SS5: 506km - Road section: 84km
Total Distance: 763km

MITSUBISHI’S THREE ’RACING LANCERS’ HOLD FOURTH SIXTH AND EIGHTH PLACES AFTER FIRST DUNE CROSSINGS STAGE CLASSIFICATION



Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart was unable to make in-roads into the overall leader’s advantage after the fifth and most demanding special stage of the event so far between Neuquén and San Rafaël in Argentina on Wednesday.

The three turbo-diesel ’Racing Lancers arrived at the bivouac within the confines of the race circuit at San Rafaël, having set the fifth, seventh and eighth fastest times on the stage. The result meant that the three Mitsubishi crews held fourth, sixth and eighth in the overall classification, but there was a late scare for defending champion, Stéphane Peterhansel (France).

He and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret (France) had moved into contention for a stage win in the early part of the special and were the virtual leaders at the 102km point, despite starting from eighth position on the road.

They maintained their pace through the 230km point and had opened up a 1m 42s lead heading into the second section of the special, although Dieter Depping (Germany) pipped them to the fastest time at the 230km.

Peterhansel was a mere 10 seconds behind heading into a sea of sand dunes at the end of the stage. Giniel de Villiers (South Africa) eventually set the fastest time and Peterhansel crossed the finish line in fourth position, but drama had unfolded 15km before the end of the stage for the defending champion.

He descended a sand dune and was heading for the foot of a second dune, when the Mitsubishi hit a patch of camel grass and flipped over. The impact damaged the car’s bodywork and radiator.

Luc Alphand and Gilles Picard (both France) started the stage in third position behind the two overall leaders, Carlos Sainz (Spain) and Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (Qatar) and were running in seventh position through the opening passage control at 230km. Alphand slipped to 10th through PC2 and finished the stage in seventh, a puncture not helping his cause.

Crews covered a technical and twisty opening section of the stage, before beginning a climb into a range of small mountains to a height of 2,300 meters. This guided them into the first real complex of sand dunes for around 60km towards the end of the stage.

Joan ’Nani’ Roma and Lucas Cruz Senra (both Spain) were fifth on the road this morning and were classified in ninth position through the opening two passage controls. They finished the grueling stage in eighth in their ’Racing Lancer’, despite two slow punctures in the course of the stage.

Four hundred and twenty vehicles were classified at the end of the fourth leg, but an unofficial 23 cars, bikes and trucks failed to restart this morning, as the original entry of 530 vehicles was further reduced.

Tomorrow (Thursday) is the last of the special stages on the event’s first of two visits to Argentina and consists of a 76km liaison into a 395km special stage to Argentina’s fourth city, Mendoza, overlooked on the western horizon by the Andes mountains.

The city stands 824 metres above sea level in a region famous for its wine industry and is a popular stop-off for tourists interested in climbing, skiing, rafting and hiking pursuits.

The stage heads through the northern Patagonian lakeland and turns north to a finish south of Pareditas. A 154km liaison then takes crews into the overnight halt in Mendoza, with the towering volcanic peak of Tupungatito rising to 6,550 metres in the distance.

WHAT THEY SAID...

Dominique Serieys, Team Director
"I thought that today would be the start of the real Dakar and I was right but, unfortunately, we did not have lady luck on our side this afternoon. Stéphane had a roll in the camel grass between the dunes and damaged the car. We will work all the night if necessary to repair it so that he can start again tomorrow. Luc and ’Nani’ had flat tires, but are still in good positions."

Luc Alphand

"Very, very difficult today. Many competitors will have big problems. It was so long. There was a lot of time off piste in wadis and river beds. To the first PC was okay, but the way back was a nightmare. We nearly got stuck. It is grass in between sand, quite different and very difficult. The bottom of the dunes are very square, so you need a good technique to drive them."

Stéphane Peterhansel

"We descended a sand dune and were heading for the foot of a second dune, when the Mitsubishi hit a patch of camel grass and flipped over. The impact damaged the bodywork and the radiator and this affected the temperature of the engine, causing it to rise. Now I hope that the mechanics can repair the car here at the service park."

Joan ’Nani’ Roma
"It was not easy. At the end it was difficult. The main thing is that we are here and still okay."


MITSUBISHI’S SPINELLI ENTERS THE OVERALL TOP 10
Guilherme Spinelli and Marcelo Vivolo (both Brazil) began the fifth special stages of the 2009 Dakar Rally between Neuquén and San Rafaël in 15th position and held 19th at the opening passage control at 230km.

But drama unfolded right across the leader board and the Mitsubishi driver benefited from problems that befell several of his rivals to take the 13th fastest time and move up to 10th in the overall standings.

"We only took delivery of the car and the parts at the last minute and Guilherme is not going to push too hard at this stage," said team manager Klever Kolberg. "He is in a good position, just slotted in nicely behind the factory cars."

Mitsubishi Thailand-backed Mana Pornsiricherd (Thailand) and co-driver Thierry Lacambre (France) were delighted with their performance on the fourth special stage across western Patagonia. They set the 57th fastest time of 5h 31m 55s in their Mitsubishi Pajero Sport and moved up to 91st overall, but were delayed after the first passage control on leg five into San Rafaël.


Mendoza Landscape

SS5 CLASSIFICATION
PosDriver
Co-Driver
NatVehicleCatTotal
Time
Diff
Leader
1Giniel DE VILLIERS
Dirk VON ZITZEWITZ
AFS
D
VOLKSWAGEN RACE TOUAREGT1.25:47:43**:**
2Dieter DEPPING
Timo GOTTSCHALK
D
D
VOLKSWAGEN RACE TOUAREGT1.25:50:01+2:18
3Robby GORDON
Andy GRIDER
USA
USA
HUMMER H3OP15:51:55+4:12
4Nasser AL ATTIYAH
Tina THORNER
QAT
S
BMW X3 CCT1.25:53:06+5:23
5Stephane PETERHANSEL
Jean-Paul COTTRET
F
F
MITSUBISHI RACING LANCERT1.25:54:55+7:12
6Mark MILLER
Ralph PITCHFORD
USA
AFS
VOLKSWAGEN RACE TOUAREGT1.25:56:42+8:59
7Luc ALPHAND
Gilles PICARD
F
F
MITSUBISHI RACING LANCERT1.25:57:45+10:02
8Joan ROMA
Lucas CRUZ
E
E
MITSUBISHI RACING LANCERT1.26:01:21+13:38
9Carlos SAINZ
Michel PERIN
E
F
VOLKSWAGEN RACE TOUAREGT1.26:03:25+15:42
10Guerlain CHICHERIT
Matthieu BAUMEL
F
F
BMW X3 CCT1.26:26:10+38:27
11Guilherme SPINELLI
Marcelo VIVOLO
BRA
BRA
MITSUBISHI PAJEROT1.16:27:58+40:15

OVERALL CLASSIFICATION AFTER SS5
PosDriver
Co-Driver
NatVehicleCatTotal
Time
Diff
Leader
1
Nasser AL ATTIYAH
Tina THORNER
QAT
S
BMW X3 CCT1.218:44:37**:**
2
Giniel DE VILLIERS
Dirk VON ZITZEWITZ
AFS
D
VOLKSWAGEN RACE TOUAREGT1.218:47:01+2:24
3
Carlos SAINZ
Michel PERIN
E
F
VOLKSWAGEN RACE TOUAREGT1.218:51:10+6:33
4
Mark MILLER
Ralph PITCHFORD
USA
AFS
VOLKSWAGEN RACE TOUAREGT1.219:04:32+19:55
5
Joan ROMA
Lucas CRUZ
E
E
MITSUBISHI RACING LANCERT1.219:09:06+24:29
6
Stephane PETERHANSEL
Jean-Paul COTTRET
F
F
MITSUBISHI RACING LANCERT1.219:13:21+28:44
7
Robby GORDON
Andy GRIDER
USA
USA
HUMMER H3OP119:26:25+41:48
8
Luc ALPHAND
Gilles PICARD
F
F
MITSUBISHI RACING LANCERT1.219:26:41+42:04
9
Dieter DEPPING
Timo GOTTSCHALK
D
D
VOLKSWAGEN RACE TOUAREGT1.220:01:17+1:16:40
10
Guilherme SPINELLI
Marcelo VIVOLO
BRA
BRA
MITSUBISHI PAJEROT1.120:24:03+1:39:26

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Mitsubishi Racing Lancer versus Mitsubishi Evolution X [UK]

Links to this post
Monday, 5 January 2009

STEPHANE PETERHANSEL – LANCER EVOLUTION VS. RACING LANCER



* Mitsubishi recognises that dealer profitability and cash flow is key
* Comprehensive cost saving measures are announced
* Dealer terms enhanced for 2009

In all its different configurations (Sports Saloon, Sportback, Ralliart, and Evolution), the new Lancer family is at the forefront of Mitsubishi Motors’ renewed offensive in the passenger car segment… but with a twist.

Racing’s In Our Blood
After 36 years of rallying (starting with the Lancer 1600 GSR in 1973) and 17 years of “Evolution” legend, it was only legitimate for the newest generation of Lancers to go racing as well, keeping the Mitsubishi sporting flame alive and supporting Lancer’s initial steps in the market, be it with the Lancer Evolution Group N rally car or the more extreme Racing Lancer cross-country racer.

Racing Driver, Racing Machine
Tackling the uncharted territory of a South American Dakar rally this year with this all-new Racing Lancer, Mitsubishi Motor Sports’ driver Stephane Peterhansel is probably in the best position to appreciate that twist, having owned Lancer Evolutions since the late 90’s (with two successive “Evo VI”), then a VIII and a IX, all the way to today’s “Project Global” Lancer Evolution X.

As he puts it:
“Very small-looking next to our Racing Lancer, the new Lancer Evolution is really a fantastic machine. With its TC-SST twin clutch gearbox and improved comfort and features, it is really a unique machine in the marketplace: set it to “Sport” or “Super Sport” and play with the paddle shifts and all of a sudden you are behind the wheel of a fantastic video game-like sports car. Then, move to “Auto” and the car can travel over long distances in full comfort mode.” He added: “It is meant to be less manic that my older VIs were for instance, but at the same time, I can’t think of any other sports car than can offer that dual personality really…”

Gallery

*Note: Stephane Peterhansel is driving the Lancer Evolution X with Jean Paul Cottret on the passenger seat. The Racing Lancer MRX09 is Luc Alphand's car.



Luc Alphand leads 3 Racing Lancers Solid Performance on Leg 4 of 09 Dakar

Links to this post
2009 DAKAR RALLY
6 JANUARY 2009
LEG 4

JACOBACCI (Argentina) to NEUQUEN (Argentina)
Road section: 4km - SS4: 459km - Road section: 25km
Total Distance: 488km

ALPHAND STARS FOR MITSUBISHI AFTER A SOLID PERFORMANCE BY ALL THREE ’RACING LANCERS’



Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart’s three turbo-diesel ’Racing Lancers’ claimed third, fifth and eighth positions on the shortened 389km fourth special stage between Ingeniero Jacobacci and Neuquén in western Patagonia on Tuesday.

Luc Alphand and Gilles Picard (both France) started from 15th position on the stage, but clawed their way through the field in the first of three turbo-diesel ’Racing Lancers’ to clinch an excellent third fastest time.

Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret (both France) began the day in fourth overall and fifth on the road in their BFGoodrich-backed car. The defending champions finished the stage in eighth place, 1m 16s behind fifth-placed team mates Joan ’Nani’ Roma and Lucas Cruz Senra (both Spain).

Today’s special stage was modified at the request of a local landowner and the first 79km were converted into a liaison section, although the special retained its varied and demanding character on the run north to Neuquén through a region renowned for its palaeontology. Fifty-six of the original 531 cars, bikes, quads and trucks had already retired from the event at the restart this morning.

Mitsubishis held fourth, eighth and 10th positions through an amended PC1, with Alphand leading the way for Mitsubishi, a mere 26 seconds behind Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (Qatar), although Carlos Sainz (Spain) began to pull away from his rivals as the stage progressed. Alphand, Roma and Peterhansel eventually completed the timed section in third, fifth and eighth places.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) the route continues its steady climb north from the harsh hinterlands of Patagonia into less hostile and more sandy terrain en route to San Rafaël close to the Argentinean foothills of the mighty Andes mountain range.

The day begins with a 173km liaison section through Barda del Medilo to the start of a 506km special stage, which has an opening passage control near Tres Chorros and a second checkpoint after a run through the mountaineous Sierra del Nevado. A short 84km liaison takes team to the overnight halt, which is a city on the Diamante River in the southern region of the Mendoza Province, 650 metres above sea level.

WHAT THEY SAID...

Dominique Serieys, Team Director
"I am happy for Luc because, for the first three days, he was not able to be on the pace he was today. Both our other cars had two punctures, but we intend to stay quiet. The front two (Sainz and Al-Attiyah) are pushing like hell, so let’s see what happens over the next two or three days."

Thierry Viardot, Technical Director
"We are still learning every day and need more and more days to continue the learning process. We hope that the rally gets harder and harder over the coming days. We know from the past that we are not the quickest team when the stages are very fast, so we will see what happens in the coming days..."

Luc Alphand



"I was worried this morning, because I lost so much time yesterday and I knew that I had to try and make up some of that time today. The wind was okay and was blowing at an angle where the dust was not a problem. I can say a big thank you to all the other drivers. They all moved out of the way with no problems.

"I was thinking last night about my position. On the Dakar Rally in the past, being 30 minutes’ behind so early on is nothing, but I was wondering whether this could be different. Maybe it will be this close in the top 10 all the way. We have some dunes tomorrow and I am quite happy for that. We will see..."

Stéphane Peterhansel



"Today was not easy. I was running well and had a good pace, but I got two flat tires and that cost me the time."

Joan ’Nani’ Roma



"It was not easy in the dust with the bikes. But this is not like Africa. There has been no piste so far, just flat tracks. It is a bit like WRC so far, but it was okay until I got one puncture on the back right side about 20km from the end of the stage and I lost about three minutes. At least I have stayed in contact and the next three days will be difficult. It is important to stay quiet and not make a big mistake."

MITSUBISHI BRAZIL’S SPINELLI CLIMBS TO 11TH PLACE INTO NEUQUÉN

Guilherme Spinelli and Marcelo Vivolo (both Brazil) finished 15th overall on the fourth special stage of the 2009 Dakar Rally between Ingeniero Jacobacci and Neuquen in Patagonia on Tuesday.

The pair had been lying in a similar position through the first passage control and carefully avoided trouble in the treacherous wadis and tricky water crossings to hold an excellent 11th position in the overall classification, 65 seconds in front of the official X-raid entry of Peter van Merksteijn (Netherlands).

Mitsubishi Thailand-backed Mana Pornsiricherd (Thailand) and co-driver Thierry Lacambre (France) began the stage out of Puerto Madryn in 96th position, but lost further time into Ingeniero Jacobacci with a broken rear axle.

The pair were forced to drive no faster than 90km/h and eventually recorded the 107th fastest time, which put them in to 99th place in the overall rankings.

On today’s stage across western Patagonia into Neuquén, the pair held 52nd place on the special at the first passage control.

SS4 CLASSIFICATION
PosDriver
Co-Driver
NatVehicleCatTotal
Time
Diff
Leader
1Carlos SAINZ
Michel PERIN
E
F
VOLKSWAGEN RACE TOUAREGT1.23:42:57**:**
2Nasser AL ATTIYAH
Tina THORNER
QAT
S
BMW X3 CCT1.23:43:03+0:06
3Luc ALPHAND
Gilles PICARD
F
F
MITSUBISHI RACING LANCERT1.23:45:21+2:24
4Mark MILLER
Ralph PITCHFORD
USA
AFS
VOLKSWAGEN RACE TOUAREGT1.23:47:17+4:20
5Joan ROMA
Lucas CRUZ
E
E
MITSUBISHI RACING LANCERT1.23:48:35+5:38
6Giniel DE VILLIERS
Dirk VON ZITZEWITZ
AFS
D
VOLKSWAGEN RACE TOUAREGT1.23:48:45+5:48
7Orlando TERRANOVA
Alain GUEHENNEC
RA
F
BMW X3 CCT1.23:49:46+6:49
8Stephane PETERHANSEL
Jean-Paul COTTRET
F
F
MITSUBISHI RACING LANCERT1.23:49:51+6:54
9Guerlain CHICHERIT
Matthieu BAUMEL
F
F
BMW X3 CCT1.23:53:28+10:31
10Robby GORDON
Andy GRIDER
USA
USA
HUMMER H3OP13:55:10+12:13
15Guilherme SPINELLI
Marcelo VIVOLO
BRA
BRA
MITSUBISHI PAJERO
EVO MPR13
T1.14:01:50+18:53
57
Krzysztof Mana PORNSIRICHERD
Thierry LACAMBRE
THA
F
MITSUBSIHI PAJERO SPORT EVO
T1.25:31:55+1:48:58

OVERALL CLASSIFICATION AFTER SS4
PosDriver
Co-Driver
NatVehicleCatTotal
Time
Diff
Leader
1
Carlos SAINZ
Michel PERIN
E
F
VOLKSWAGEN RACE TOUAREGT1.212:47:45**:**
2
Nasser AL ATTIYAH
Tina THORNER
QAT
S
BMW X3 CCT1.212:51:31+3:46
3
Giniel DE VILLIERS
Dirk VON ZITZEWITZ
AFS
D
VOLKSWAGEN RACE TOUAREGT1.212:59:18+11:33
4
Stephane PETERHANSEL
Jean-Paul COTTRET
F
F
MITSUBISHI RACING LANCERT1.213:03:26+15:41
5
Joan ROMA
Lucas CRUZ
E
E
MITSUBISHI RACING LANCERT1.213:07:45+20:00
6
Mark MILLER
Ralph PITCHFORD
USA
AFS
VOLKSWAGEN RACE TOUAREGT1.213:07:50+20:05
7
Orlando TERRANOVA
Alain GUEHENNEC
RA
F
BMW X3 CCT1.213:12:15+24:30
8
Luc ALPHAND
Gilles PICARD
F
F
MITSUBISHI RACING LANCERT1.213:28:56+41:11
9
Robby GORDON
Andy GRIDER
USA
USA
HUMMER H3OP113:34:30+46:45
10
Krzysztof HOLOWCZYC
Jean-Marc FORTIN
POL
B
NISSAN NAVARAT1.113:35:24+47:39
11
Guilherme SPINELLI
Marcelo VIVOLO
BRA
BRA
MITSUBISHI PAJEROT1.113:56:05+1:08:20


Team Mitsubishi Repsol Ralliart Service Park