Team Mitsubishi Ralliart successfully clinched overall victory in its first-ever attempt at the Asian Cross Country Rally (AXCR) race, with a team of three rally-prepped Mitsubishi Triton pick-up trucks.
Over a total distance of 1,524 km, including 637 km of timed special stages (SS), Car #105 driven by Thailand’s Chayapon Yotha finished in first place overall with a time of 8 hours 22 minutes and 44 seconds, while Car #118 driven by Indonesia’s Rifat Sungkar finished fifth with 17 minutes and 14 seconds behind.
It was not a straightforward race for Team Mitsubishi Ralliart, as the unpredictable weather and natural landscapes in these parts of the world threw a myriad of challenges to the team during the rally, which ran from Buriram, Thailand to Siem Reap, Cambodia.
The third Mitsubishi Triton rally car, #119 meant for high-speed support, also had to unfortunately retire from the race as driver Sakchai Hantrakul tested positive for Covid-19 after SS1.
Rifat Sungkar in car #118 suffered a flat tyre during SS2, which subsequently resulted in chassis damages, and a drop all the way down to eighth position. The team’s repair work allowed him to continue the rally the next day, and he managed to claw his way back into fifth place overall.
The second half of the rally was also filled with challenging terrains, consisting of large, deep puddles scattered on muddy roads caused by heavy rain. With the overall win and two cars in the top five, the lightly-modified Mitsubishi Triton truly demonstrated its might and toughness in the AXCR.
Commenting on the win, Team Mitsubishi Ralliart team director, Hiroshi Masuoka said, “For this year’s AXCR, we built on the high reliability and durability of the Triton by tuning the engine and chassis, and entered the rally with specifications relatively close to the production car. Even so, the two Triton rally cars delivered powerful driving, and I am very proud of our high finish.
“The superb performance came down to the drivers, who were able to extract the Triton’s performance and show us some great drives, the engineers who worked every day to fine-tune the vehicles perfectly, all the staff who provided support, and the know-how that Mitsubishi Motors has accumulated over the years.
“We would like to feed the knowledge we gained through our participation in the AXCR back into the development of production vehicles, and build Mitsubishi vehicles that are even tougher, more powerful, and more reliable,” he added.