Triton team for Asia Pacific

Mitsubishi’s back in endurance off-road racing


Two-time Dakar Rally champion Hiroshi Masuoka will head a new Team Mitsubishi Ralliart challenge for the 2022 Asia Cross Country Rally (AXCR).

Masuoka is a Mitsubishi stalwart and seasoned hand in endurance and extreme racing.

He says he will bring his Dakar-winning experience to the new role.

“For many years, Mitsubishi Motors competed in the World Rally Championsh­ip and the Dakar Rally, winning championsh­ips in both of them. Our participat­ion in the AXCR will strengthen our product uniqueness, especially for pickup truck and SUVs.”

AXCR is a cross-country rally event certified by the Federation Internatio­nale de l’Automobile (FIA) and set predominan­tly in Thailand.

More akin to the tougher Dakar courses than to a Rain Forest Challenge winchfocus­sed event, it runs on gruelling off-road courses in the mountains and jungles of the region. The course tests vehicles and crews to their limits.

Mitsubishi Motors says it will use the feedback earned through this rally-style competitio­n to further hone the strengths of its products, especially in terms of body and chassis rigidity, vehicle control and off-road performanc­e.

Mitsubishi Motors revived its Ralliart brand in November 2021, showing the Vision Concept at the 2022 Tokyo Motor Show.

In New Zealand, Ralliart was the local source of a stream of rally cars during the brand’s years at the top of the World Rally Championsh­ip and the New Zealand Rally Championsh­ip.

In the late 1990s, a privateer Pajero Evo also won the

Taupo 1000 at the hands of race car builder Neville ‘Max’ Smith.

“Shorty’ V6 Pajeros have been a mainstay of off-road racing’s production class ever since.

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