Featuring cutting-edge technologies, the OUTLANDER PHEV, which is the world's first*1 4WD SUV's plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, participated in the Asia Cross Country Rally 2013 and completed the course, covering a total distance of 2,000 km. The OUTLANDER PHEV, which was the only plug-in hybrid electric vehicle participating, competed in the rally for the first time. It completed the course, finishing in seventeenth place (out of 20 cars, one car retired). The plug-in hybrid electric vehicle system proved that it is trouble-free and reliable. The twin-motor 4WD showed its excellent responsiveness, while the S-AWC demonstrated its high stability and ground-covering ability.

 *1 As of July 2013, Mitsubishi Motors survey

Team Profile

Car Name: Mitsubishi OUTLANDER PHEV Entry Class: T1-3G Class*2 Entrant: Two & Four Motor Sports*3 Driver: Takatsugu Aoki Co-Driver: Kenji Ishida

  • Takatsugu Aoki


    Takatsugu Aoki

    Age: 55
    Birthplace: Osaka
    He has been active in international rallies, races, dirt trials, and other events.
    Together with his co-driver, Kenji Ishida, he was an Asia Cross Country Rally class winner in 2004, 2005, and 2007, as a privateer using a works car.
    They also won the overall title in the London to Peking Rally 2000.

  • Kenji Ishida

    Co. DRIVER

    Kenji Ishida

    Age: 64
    Birthplace: Osaka
    He has been active in international rallies, races, and other events.
    Together with Takatsugu Aoki, he was an Asia Cross Country Rally class winner in 2004, 2005, and 2007, as a privateer using a works car.
    They also won the overall title in the London to Peking Rally 2000.

*2 Modified stock-car class (EV category)
*3 Two & Four Motor Sports:
An automobile event company based in Osaka, its businesses include organizing test-driving events, driving schools, and safe driving classes for various companies and groups, as well as planning and operating races and rallies, and holding and operating JAF authorized license training sessions.
This year Mitsubishi Motors is cooperating with Two & Four Motor Sports as a special partner.

What is FEDERAL-FLEX Asia Cross-Country Rally 2013?

Period: August 10-16, 2013
Route: Thailand (Pattaya) - Laos (Pakse)
FEDERAL-FLEX Asia Cross-Country Rally is an FIA (International Automobile Federation) certified event; the only cross-country rally in Asia. This year it celebrated the 18th event.
It is organized by Ortev Thailand and R1 Japan, with support from Tourism Authority of Thailand and Lao National Tourism Administration.






August 10 (Saturday)

Day 1 of the rally. After undergoing scrutineering and technical checks at the Bira Circuit near Pattaya, a 2.2 km prologue run (*SSS) was held on a specially set up off-road course located adjacent to the circuit, to determine start order. Despite becoming stuck, the OUTLANDER PHEV recovered to complete the prologue run and made the ceremonial start from the colourful start lights set up along Pattaya Beach’s entertainment district. The quiet start-up of the EV drive mode as it left the ramp surprised onlookers and attracted much attention.

*SSS (Super Special Stage)

August 11 (Sunday)

Leg 1 from Pattaya to Aranyaprathet covered a total driving distance of 421.44 km of which 208.07 km formed *SS1. The OUTLANDER PHEV start exhibited the EV’s trademark quiet acceleration with strong torque without engaging the engine. Mounting the battery pack under the floor gives a low centre of gravity and superior front and rear weight distribution resulting from optimal arrangement of EV components enables outstanding handling performance on the flat dirt early in the race.
This year however, high rainfall means that as the course progresses the muddy tracks show deepening ruts, and a squall that hit in the evening made road conditions even worse, producing a spate of stuck vehicle. The OUTLANDER PHEV also repeatedly became stuck, resulting in exceeding the allowed time. During SS1, 12 vehicles suffered the same fate. For this rally a Maximum Time Allowed is set for each Special Stage (*SS), and any vehicle exceeding that time is automatically subject to a fixed penalty. When the OUTLANDER PHEV completed Leg 1, it was running in 18th place overall. After the leg, at the request of the driver, the motor torque response for accelerator operation was adjusted, and this corrected the gap between driver perception and reality, but essentially the plug-in hybrid EV system was trouble-free.

*SS (Special stage)

August 12 (Monday)

Leg 2 was a loop course covering a total distance of 414.86 km starting from Aranyaprathet of which 243.59 km was intended to form *SS2, but due to rain on the previous day it was decided that the race would take place over a reduced distance of 189.44 km. As it happened, however, works caused by river flooding along the course meant that part of the course was impassable, so the morning event was cancelled. Rally vehicles relocated in convoy, ultimately *SS2 was shortened to 70 km and the race recommenced from the afternoon. The OUTLANDER PHEV has very quick accelerator response and demonstrates maximum torque at low speed, and partially due to setting changes after the finish of the previous day’s racing, it found speed on the flat dirt tracks of the early stages, responding faithfully to driver input. Despite the deteriorating road conditions as the event progressed, it placed 10th overall during *SS2 and at the end of Leg 2 it had crept up to 15th overall. The vehicle experienced no significant problems and delivered a drive that was in no way inferior to that of the hard-core pick-ups and cross-country 4WDs.

*SS (Special stage)

August 13 (Tuesday)

Leg 3 consisted of a total distance of 430.58 km from Aranyaprathet to Buri Ram, of which 231.15 km formed *SS3. The constant rain and occasional squalls made course conditions increasingly difficult. At a point about 10 km from the start of the course a bridge had collapsed making the route impassable, so that all vehicles had to retreat, relocate in convoy and restart from the 30 km point. Although the OUTLANDER PHEV did complete the rugged *SS3 it exceeded the Maximum Time Allowed so that by the end of Leg 3 it was sitting in 15th position overall. On the slippery, rain-washed roads, the effective operation of ASC (Active Stability Control) paid off in addition to the fine-tuning of the previous day. Along the varied course, from narrow, winding sections to comparatively high-speed sections, the driver could feel the superb handling stability produced by the twin motor 4 WD/S-AWC. Tweaking the settings of the regenerative braking function via the paddle shift enhanced deceleration effect to match that of engine braking, which enabled free cornering using accelerator operation alone.

*SS (Special stage)

August 14 (Wednesday)

Leg 4 covered a total distance of 502.29 km from Buri Ram to Ubon Ratchatani, of which 166.87 km were intended to form *SS4 but this was raced over a shortened distance of 84 km. The rain let up after the start, and the race proceeded in stable weather conditions. The first half of *SS4 consisted of muddy tracks, but the latter half was mainly a rock-strewn surface where the OUTLANDER PHEV revealed its amazing potential by effortlessly conquering river crossings which present a major hazard, and sections that run up inclines of almost 30°. The LSD effect of the Active Yaw Control (AYC) exhibited fantastic drivability even in boggy conditions. Just 10 km from the finish however, the suspension was damaged and given the severe road conditions up ahead, it was decided to discontinue the SS and take a detour to the finish, which resulted in exceeding the Maximum Time Allowed. At the end of Leg 4 its position had slipped slightly to 17th overall.

*SS (Special stage)

August 15 (Thursday)

Leg 5 was a total distance of 285.05 km from Ubon Ratchatani over the border to Pakse in Laos, of which 89.65 km formed *SS5. The start was delayed due to immigration procedures and operational confusion, then the first half of the route experienced difficult, boggy roads with deep holes and ruts, while in the second half the roads were covered in water that had overflowed from paddy fields, so that out of the 19 vehicles that set out, 14 exceeded the Maximum Time Allowed. Immediately after the start, the OUTLANDER PHEV struck trouble with the front fender falling off due to a mud buildup. After emergency repairs it was decided not to return to the *SS and to take a detour, which resulted in exceeding the Maximum Time Allowed. Its position at the end of Leg 5 remained unchanged at 17th place overall. It is interesting to note that road conditions were so bad that several of the vehicles that had gotten stuck could not be extracted until the following day.

*SS (Special stage)

August 16 (Friday)

Leg 6 on the final day was a loop course extending over 202.01 km starting from Pakse, of which it was planned that 51.15 km would form *SS6 but worsening road conditions, which had caused stuck vehicles to block the road, forced cancellation of *SS6 which was replaced by a ceremonial finish. The cancellation of *SS6 on the last day meant that the OUTLANDER PHEV effectively finished the race at that point with a final overall placing of 17th (out of 20 participating vehicles and one retired vehicle). For a passenger-type SUV lacking the high clearance of the pick-ups and cross country 4WD vehicles, this was an extremely challenging course. Despite that, the EV system and twin motor 4WD/S-AWC experienced no trouble whatsoever after a minor setting change. It overcame numerous difficulties to complete the race and was able to demonstrate the reliability of the plug-in hybrid EV system and the superiority of the twin motor 4WD/S-AWC.

*SS (Special stage)