TOKYO, Aug 22, 2023 – (JCN Newswire) – Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (hereafter, Mitsubishi Motors) announces that Team Mitsubishi Ralliart, for which it provides technical support, has won 3rd place overall in the Asia Cross Country Rally 2023 (hereafter, AXCR) held in Thailand and Laos from August 13 to 19. The team competed in the AXCR 2023 with three of the all-new Tritons (T1 cross-country prototypes), covering a total distance of 2033.42 km, including 973.98 km of special stages (SS), and former AXCR champion driver Chayapon Yotha (Thailand) from Team Mitsubishi Ralliart finished in 3rd place overall. Katsuhiko Taguchi (Japan), competing for the first time in AXCR from the Team Mitsubishi Ralliart placed 8th overall, and Rifat Sungkar (Indonesia) placed 32nd overall.
Furthermore, Team Mitsubishi Ralliart won the Team Award, which is awarded to the team that entries with two or more and all finished the rally, and is based on the total time of the top two entries.
*The actual distance has been shortened due to course changes
Highlight videos from the AXCR 2023
As in past years, AXCR 2023 was held during the rainy season, and the ceremonial start was held on August 13 at Walking Street, a famous sightseeing spot in Pattaya, Thailand. From Leg 1 on the 14 to Leg 3 on the 16, participants competed in special stages (SS) in Thailand, and in Leg 4 on the 17, crossed the border to Champasak, Laos for the SS. Leg 5 on 18 took the participants to Paksong, a highland area in Laos. After the SS in Leg 6 on the 19, the participants reached the ceremonial goal at Prasat Wat Phu, a World Heritage site. The rally cars were covered with fine dust as they drove, and the dust made it difficult for the drivers to see what was ahead when they approached the vehicles in front of them. The second half of the rally in Laos was a series of steep courses with large potholes, muddy roads, and river crossings, which were not seen in Thailand, further hampering the drivers’ progress.
Chayapon Yotha on Car 101, who was aiming for his second consecutive AXCR championship, demonstrated the performance of the all-new Triton rally car by setting the 2nd fastest time in SS2 on the second day. With his stable rally performance, Yotha finished the first half in his home country of Thailand in 4th overall position. He continued his solid performance in the second half and moved up to 3rd overall while placing 3rd in the SS4, always maintaining the top positions in the following SSs, leading the all-new Triton rally car to the podium.
It was the first time for Katsuhiko Taguchi of Car 112, who was competing in his first AXCR to challenge a cross-country rally. Despite this being his first time in a cross-country rally, he was able to take advantage of his precise handling and speed and set the top time in SS1 on the first day. However, he was not able to increase his pace due to a rival in trouble blocking his way, and was troubled by the complicated branching jungle roads, and finished his first AXCR challenge at 8th place overall.
Rifat Sungkar in Car 106 lost a lot of time in SS1 on the first day due to cooling system troubles caused by the front grille being covered by tall weeds and was given an 8-hour penalty, which set him back significantly. While he continued to start from the back of the field, where it was difficult to finish at the top due to a large number of front runners, he competed well while recording the fastest time in SS5, and finished 32nd overall.
“The course was a grueling one, with intense heat in the summer with almost no rain despite the rainy season, as well as high-speed driving over some of the toughest road conditions in recent years. Team Mitsubishi Ralliart entered this rally with the all-new Triton, which had undergone a full model change and had evolved in all aspects. Although we had to build rally cars in a short period of time as it was a new model that had just been launched, we were able to demonstrate its performance in many areas and came in 3rd place overall,” said Hiroshi Masuoka, team director of Team Mitsubishi Ralliart. “Unfortunately, we did not win the championship for the second year in a row, but we were able to complete the rally with all three Tritons without losing a single car, using almost the same specifications as mass-produced cars and using parts from production cars, which convinced us that our direction in car manufacturing was on the right track. We were also able to gain technical feedback that we should reflect on production vehicles, as well as issues on how to improve the competitiveness of our rally cars, making this a very meaningful event. Team Mitsubishi Ralliart would like to thank our sponsors for their generous support and our fans around the world for their enthusiastic cheering.”
AXCR2023 Auto Category Overall Results
1st Takuma Aoki (Toyota Fortuner) 11:46:22
2nd Tubagus Moerinsyahdi (Toyota Fortuner) 11:50:50
3rd Chayapon Yotha (Mitsubishi Triton) 12:00:40
4th Raz Yehoshua Heymann (Segal Segal) 13:10:40
5th Pittiphon Promchotikul (Toyota Hilux REVO) 13:30:59
6th Mana Pornsiricherd (Toyota Hilux) 13:33:25
8th Katsuhiko Taguchi (Mitsubishi Triton) 13:49:31
32nd Rifat Sungkar (Mitsubishi Triton) 30:22:29
[Daily reports on the AXCR2023 special site]
About Mitsubishi Motors
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (TSE:7211) — a member of the Alliance with Renault and Nissan –, is a global automobile company based in Tokyo, Japan, which has about 30,000 employees and a global footprint with production facilities around the world. Mitsubishi Motors has a competitive edge in SUVs, pickup trucks and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and appeals to ambitious drivers willing to challenge convention and embrace innovation. Since the production of our first vehicle more than a century ago, Mitsubishi Motors has been a leader in electrification–launched the i-MiEV – the world’s first mass-produced electric vehicle in 2009, followed by the Outlander PHEV – the world’s first plug-in hybrid electric SUV in 2013.
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