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Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV wins at Asia Cross Country Rally

A Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has won its class in the gruelling Asia Cross Country Rally 2014, and finished 14th place overall out of 31 four-wheel entrants.

The Two & Four Motor Sports rally team supported by Mitusbishi Motors Corporation (MMC) has successfully competed an Outlander PHEV, winning its electric vehicle class and finishing 14th overall in a field dominated by Toyota Prado, Toyota FJ Cruiser, Isuzu D-Max utes and Nissan Navaras – 31 vehicles in all.

According to Mitsubishi, the team completed the rally in 19 hours 17 minutes and 12 seconds for the total driving distance of 1986km. This is the second year running the Outlander PHEV has participated in the rally.

How different was the 2014 car? The 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV rally car used the competition-modified suspension from last year’s race car as well as raised ground clearance with the drive battery placed higher for improved off-road performance. The car’s Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) integrated vehicle dynamics control system was tuned for competition use to provide better traction. Other modifications included the fitting of a roll cage and underbody skid plate, the use of lighter engine hood, rear tail-gate and interior parts, and additional dust sealing and a snorkel for water crossings. Apart from these changes, the car competed using the almost the same Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) powertrain and mechanical parts as the standard production model.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEv at Asia Cross Country Rally

And here’s how the Outlander’s race went, blow-by-blow: Prologue Run (August 9): 11th place overall in the Prologue Run time trials from Pattaya, Thailand; Leg One (August 10): First day of full competition, 13th place overall; Leg Two (August 11): Battling Thailand’s deep ruts and muddy and boggy trails the Outlander PHEV finished 12th overall; Leg Three (August 12): Race moves from Thailand to Cambodia, towards the Angkor Wat World Heritage site. This leg featured comparatively flatter terrain where the Outlander PHEV could take advantage of the high torque of its electric motors and S-AWC which led to a step up to 11th place overall; Leg Four (August 13): Progress to 9th place overall in this leg which started from Angkor Wat; Leg Five (August 14): This gruelling leg was the longest and featured deep ruts. Lack of high ground clearance forced the Outlander PHEV to avoid much of the second half of the course, falling to 15th place overall; Leg Six (August 15): The last leg starting from Phnom Penh featured a flat high-speed course, finishing 2ndin the leg and recovering to finish 14th overall.

Mr Yasuo Tanaka, Technical Director MMC, said: “Because the extreme road surface conditions unique to the Asia Cross Country Rally gave us a really hard time when we competed for the first time last year, this year we raised the ground clearance further to improve the car’s off-road performance.

“It makes me very happy that the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has not only successfully completed the rally under such gruelling conditions for the second year in a row but also placed higher than last year.

“I am also very satisfied and proud that the Outlander PHEV was able to demonstrate so convincingly the reliability and durability of MMC’s own plug-in hybrid electric vehicle system as well as the superior capabilities of its Twin Motor 4WD and S-AWC systems.

“The Outlander PHEV‘s improved all-terrain performance this year means we have been able to collect more valuable data than last. I am looking forward to utilising this in our electric vehicle development.”

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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober