MITSUBISHI MOTORS

The Outlander PHEV evolves through Asia’s most grueling rally!

The Outlander PHEV is set to take on the unforgiving rally across punishing mountain roads.The experience and achievements from the rally will be applied to the development of future production vehicles.This year, the continually-evolving Outlander PHEV rally car will test its mettle.

Northern Thailand - An area dominated by mountains - A grueling race spanning almost 2400km

The 20th Asia Cross Country Rally 2015

Period: Saturday August 8,2015 - Friday August 14,2015 Route: Starting and finishing in the ancient city of Chiang Mai, this year's course covers a distance of approximately 2400km through northern Thailand.

The Asia Cross Country Rally is a intense race through mountainous areas, jungles, seashores, plantations, and circuits that usually takes place in Thailand and runs through its neighboring countries.Held annually in August, this rally is the largest cross country rally event in Asia. It is sanctioned by the Federation of International Automobiles and the Federation of International Motorcycling.Since the first race in 1996, the course settings and transit countries have changed annually. This year’s race, the 20th anniversary, will take place in high-altitude mountainous areas.

The rally car was developed based on the Outlander PHEV production model and vehicle performance was enhanced.

Main components of the rally car's PHEV systems come from the production model and they were enhanced to deliver higher performance, in preparation for the drive over rough terrain.

Watch the making of the rally car!

A high-performance version of the PHEV system

The performance of the PHEV system was enhanced by increasing the motor output, the generator output of energy, and the drive battery capacity.
Driving performance of the Outlander PHEV

Improved all-terrain performance

The tread was widened for wider body and the car’s ground clearance was also increased.In addition, the suspension stroke was lengthened and the car was fitted with rally-spec high-profile tires.

Improved traction performance

Changes made to the Twin Motor 4WD System which utilizes the S-AWC (Super All-wheel Control) Integrated Vehicle Dynamics Control System knowhow honed from the Lancer Evolution enhance traction performance.

A challenger who pushes the potential of the machine to its limit

DriverTakatsugu Aoki

Mr. Aoki has participated in various world rallies, races, and dirt trials.In the Asia Cross Country Rally, he has won the class championship four times by the year 2012 and competed as a privateer against factory-backed drivers. In 2013, he began competing with the Outlander PHEV, a vehicle based on an unprecedented concept, and succeeded in completing the rally. In 2015, he is aiming to achieve an even higher position overall.

Co-driver Wuttichai Thritara

Mr. Thritara has mainly been active on the Thai rally scene, achieving a high placing in the Thailand Cross Country Rally Championships.This year, he participated in the Asia Cross Country Rally with Takatsugu Aoki for the second time, following on from their first challenge last year.

Asia’s largest rally, lasting 7 days 2,400km of rough roads 
through the mountains

day1

Outlander PHEV is taking on the challenge for three years in a row !
gWefve got a good feelingh ahead of the opening on the 8th

This is the third year that Mitsubishi Motorsf Outlander PHEV has taken on the challenge of the Asia Cross Country Rally in Thailand.

The machine competing this year has the same specs as the one due to compete as a part of a factory team in the Baja Portalegre 500 in Portugal in October. The Two & Four Motor Sports rally team arrived at the location today, ready to take on the challenge with this vehicle with technical support from Mitsubishi Motors

Because this yearfs machine has a wider body and track tread, its appearance packs a greater punch. But it doesnft just look different. For example, for this yearfs rally, the car has been fitted with a competition-standard safety fuel tank, replacing the fuel tank from the production model that had been used up until last year. Consequently, a bulkhead has been installed to comply with regulations.

The suspension has been specially made by TEIN. In the suspension used until last year, the rebound stroke was a bit short, so there were some problems with jump landings, but the new spec means this is no longer a worry.

On August 7, the team headed for the dirt course in the suburb of Chiang Mai. The shakedown test of this yearfs machine in Thailand was carried out here. The main change from last year is the downsizing of the tire from the original size of 235/85R16 to 245/75R16. Changing the size allows the tire diameter to be reduced and the total gear ratio to be lowered, resulting in increased available torque when starting and accelerating. In addition, because this machine has no brake booster, another aim of reducing the tire diameter is to enhance the feeling of brake controllability as much as possible. The brake pads have also been changed to something suitable for a vehicle without a brake booster.

Vehicle inspections and the ceremonial start are due to take place tomorrow, August 8. The annual prologue run was canceled this year.

day2

The car crossed hood-deep water without any problems, proving its toughness.

On August 9, Two & Four Motor Sportsf Outlander PHEV finally crossed the start line of the Asia Cross Country Rally 2015.

Todayfs schedule was a 205km liaison section from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son, with a 176km SS along the way. However, the road used for the first half of the SS was closed because a non-competing truck had overturned, so the SS for four-wheeled vehicles omitted the first half.

The highlight of todayfs SS was crossing a river about 20-30m wide. Although therefs a narrow suspension bridge over the river, four-wheeled vehicles have no choice but to crossing through the river. Arriving at the river, the competing vehicles went into the water one after another, but some floated for few seconds and were carried downstream a short way before managing to reach the opposite bank. The Outlander PHEV drove fearlessly into the water and crossed the river without the slightest trouble.

Some people were worried about the river crossing because the Outlander PHEV is an electric vehicle, but because it had undergone rigorous testing, it succeeded in crossing the river in spite of these concerns. Nevertheless, it did face tougher conditions than in testing, because the water in the river was deep enough to cover the hood.

The overall standing after finishing Leg 1 was 17th. The second leg tomorrow is the longest of this rally: 500km in total, with a liaison of 364km and a 132km SS.

day3

Heading for the goal under our own steam
despite a damaged front windshield

On August 10, the Outlander PHEV faced Leg 2 on the second day of the Asia Cross Country Rally.

Todayfs second leg is the longest of the entire rally, covering 500km from Mae Hong Son to Mae Sot, with a 364km liaison section and a 132km SS.

The starting line for the Leg 2 SS was just 8km from the time control starting point. In other words, the race enters the SS shortly after the start, so the drivers have to drive their machines at full throttle without a proper warm-up.

The Outlander PHEV slid off the track during the SS, damaging its front window. The team decided to go off the SS course and onto a well-maintained road, heading for Mae Sot via Chiang Mai, the starting point of the rally. It was after midnight by the time they reached their hotel.

Although the team ran out of time in the SS, it placed 22nd for the day and 25th overall. Tomorrowfs third leg will be nearly 400km, from Mae Sot to Sukhothai, with a 190km liaison section and 181km SS.

day4

Repairs were done and Leg 3 went off without a hitch

On August 11, Two & Four Motor Sportsf Outlander PHEV progressed to Leg 3 on the third day of the Asia Cross Country Rally.

The repairs to the Outlander PHEV were completed at 5:30 a.m., with barely any time to spare before the leg got underway. With the front windshield arrived from Bangkok, the team mechanics worked with auto glass specialists to repair the windshield and body, as well as conducting routine maintenance. There was nothing more serious than some damage to the body, so the underbody only needed a checkup.

Todayfs third leg is a drive of nearly 400km, from Mae Sot to Sukhothai, with a 190km liaison section and a 181km SS. During yesterdayfs driversf briefing, the drivers were instructed to take care because there was a strong probability of misreading the course for Leg 3, and the race did in fact turn out to be a confusing one.

Only two vehicles reached the SS checkpoints more or less on time. Many of the rally cars, including the Outlander PHEV, arrived at the checkpoint late. With many bikes going off the course, the situation was so chaotic that even the two vehicles that arrived on time had to delay their departure for two hours.

Amid these conditions, Outlander PHEV driver Takatsugu Aoki got through SS3 in 9th place and the carfs overall standing went up from 25th to 22nd. Tomorrow is the fourth leg, covering more than 500km in total, with a 269km liaison section and a 244km SS.

day5

Dropped out of the SS en route due to problems with the air conditioning system

On August 12, Two & Four Motor Sportsf Outlander PHEV progressed to Leg 4 on the fourth day of the Asia Cross Country Rally.

The fourth leg was scheduled to be a 244km SS with a 269km liaison section from Sukhothai to Phrae. However, the distance was shortened slightly because of a diversion imposed to avoid rising river water on the SS course. The distance for the SS was now 195km.

Although the Outlander PHEV was running smoothly until the start of the SS, the air conditioning system went down immediately afterwards. The Outlander PHEV uses the air conditioning system to cool the drive battery, so the air conditioning is crucial to the performance of the entire PHEV system. This is also the case with the rally vehicle. The battery warning light went on, activating the fail-safe function, which prevented any increase in speed. This problem with the air conditioning system was caused by the condenser tank being dislodged during the crash that had resulted in the broken windshield two days ago. This brought the condenser tank into contact with other parts and the friction between them gradually wore a hole in the tank, causing a coolant leakage.

The Outlander PHEV pulled out of the SS and traveled to the hotel on tarmac roads. The team went straight to a Mitsubishi Motors dealership located near the hotel to ask for help. The mechanic at the local dealership replaced the damaged condenser tank with a new one, enabling the vehicle to return to the rally. The Outlander PHEV placed 22nd in SS3, with an overall standing of 21st.

Tomorrowfs fifth leg is due to start and finish at the same hotel in Phrae. The original SS has been truncated due to the swollen river, so the total distance is expected to be just under 300km.

day6

The electrics kept working just fine,
even when the pedals were submerged in water

On August 13, the Outlander PHEV tackled Leg 5 on the fifth day of the Asia Cross Country Rally.

The fifth leg started and finished at the hotel in Phrae. Although originally due to cover a distance of about 380km in the liaison section and SS, it turned out that the swollen river had rendered parts of the course impassable, so the distance was shortened to about 300km.

It is rainy season in Thailand, so it rains every day. This year, it has tended to rain at night, with sunshine during the day. Although the competitors were spared having to drive in the rain, swollen rivers and muddy road surfaces are unavoidable.

With its air conditioning system in full working order after the previous dayfs repairs, the Outlander PHEV got off to a good start on the SS, without any problems.

Todayfs SS took place along a very narrow road. Its surface was very muddy and slippery due to the previous nightfs rain.. Most of the rally cars found the going treacherous and many actually got stuck.

The Outlander PHEV had its toughest time crossing the river. The river in Leg 5 was even deeper than the one on the first day, with the water reaching the door handle at its deepest. It was also faster flowing, and both the depth and the current proved to be an obstacle. Although the map showed the route going right after crossing the river, it was impossible to make a right turn immediately, so the car had to go left first and then turn right. Noticing this, Mr. Aoki backed the car into the middle of the river, but because the door mirrors were folded in, he had to use his intuition when reversing. Fortunately, the direction of flow was from the front of the car, so he was able to use the current to reverse the car so he could go round to the left to reach the opposite side of the river. However, the water seeped into the car, submerging the pedals. Nevertheless, in the Outlander PHEVfs third year competing in the Asia Cross Country Rally, concerns about its electrics proved groundless. It placed 18th in SS5, with an overall standing of 20th going into the last day of the rally.

Tomorrow is the sixth leg, starting from the hotel in Phrae and returning to the rallyfs starting point at the ancient capital of Chiang Mai. The competitors have another 280km to go before they finally reach the finish line of this 2,400km, 6-day rally.

day7

Finished the race top of its class and 3rd in the last SS, proving its huge potential

On August 14, Two & Four Motor Sportsf Outlander PHEV faced Leg 6 on the sixth and final day of the Asia Cross Country Rally.

Starting from the hotel in Phrae, the sixth leg returns to the rallyfs starting point, in the ancient capital of Chiang Mai. Although due to cover a total distance of 280km, including a 45km SS, the starting point of the SS was moved 3km further from the start, resulting in a slightly shorter SS.

The surfaces in todayfs SS were about 30% slimy and slippery surfaces, 30% tarmac, and 40% mud. Many drivers have said that this yearfs SS had a lot of demanding surfaces, and the SS on the sixth leg was no exception.

The checkup the night before revealed problems in the Outlander PHEVfs air conditioning system, and the repairs had gone on late into the night. Although the problem seemed to have been rectified, the system was in fact not working perfectly and Takatsugu Aoki was forced to drive with the fail safe function activated. Nevertheless, even under such conditions, he achieved the 3rd fastest time in the SS, just 1 minute and 19 seconds behind the winner, proving the huge potential of the Outlander PHEV.

Having gone the full distance of about 2,400km, Two & Four Motor Sportsf Outlander PHEV finished the rally as class champion and in 20th place overall.

The vehicle has not experienced a single problem in its power system in any of the three rallies in which it has taken part over the last three years. It has demonstrated that our PHEV performs satisfactorily even in hot countries like Thailand as long as the peripheral devices are enhanced. Participating in a variety of motor sports in the future should help the PHEV system to evolve further and become a power unit in high demand.

Class Champion and 20th OverallCompleted the rally for three years in a row

The Outlander PHEV finished the punishing course in a time of 40 hours 1 minute and 51 seconds, going the full distance for the third consecutive year.The rally car not only fully demonstrated its potential even in the most demanding road conditions, but also proved its superb reliability, durability and all-terrain performance.

RACE DATA

  • Total distance traveled: approx. 2,400km
  • Total driving time: 40 hours 1 minute 51 seconds
  • T1-3 class champion (electric vehicle class) and 20th overall

INTERVIEW It was a tougher rally than I'd expected.Our participation of the rally must be a great help for our PHEV in the future!

We had some problems with deteriorating cooling performance later in the race. It was tougher than I'd expected, but the conditions are even more demanding in places like Dakar. I think our participation in this rally will really help the future development of PHEV. I'd like the data from the last three years to be fed back into the development of production cars.

Outlander PHEV Embodies our technology and experience we refined through rallies.

The Outlander PHEV was used as the base for the rally car that went the full distance in the
Asia Cross Country Rally 2015.
It is the culmination of Mitsubishi Motors' driving technology and uncompromising commitment to
the environment.
Visit the Outlander PHEV site

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