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Close Report on the Rough and Tough Seven Days. Outlander PHEV faces the challenge of the largest rally in Southeast Asia.

Asia Cross Country Rally 2014 Digest footage

Go Rally!

The Outlander PHEV, equipped with the Plug-in Hybrid EV System leading-edge technology, completed the Asia Cross Country Rally, one of the toughest rally races in Southeast Asia, covering 1,986km in total. We followed its challenging journey for seven days.

What is Asia Cross Country Rally?

Asia Cross Country Rally is a grueling rally race mainly held in Thailand and goes through the mountains, jungles, coasts, plantations and circuits of different Asian countries.
It is the largest cross country rally in Southeast Asia, certified by the International Automobile Federation (FIA) and the International Motorcycling Federation (FIM), and is held every August.

The 19th Asia Cross Country Rally, 2014

Period From August 9 (Sat) to 15 (Fri), 2014
Route From Thailand (Pattaya) to Cambodia (Phnom Penh), with a total travel distance of approx. 1,986km
The race is held by ORTEV Thailand/R1 Japan, and sponsored by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Pattaya City, Sakaeo City, and the Government of Cambodia.

Team prifle

Type of vehicle and specification

The Outlander PHEV was used as the competition vehicle. The vehicle participated in the rally with specifications nearly identical to those of standard production model in terms of hardware, including the plug-in hybrid EV system.
The competition vehicle used the 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 and reduction of the vehicle weight by more than 100kg compared with the previous year by using lighter engine hood, rear gate and interior parts as well as additional sealing and a snorkel (air-intake duct) for water crossings.

Car Name: Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Entry Class : T1-3G Class (alteration unrestrained) *1
Vehicle Weight : 1872kg (Fr 1040kg/Rr 832kg)

*Spare tire x 2, including tools (jack, jerrycan, towing kit, etc.), 20L of gasoline


Format : S61 (front) / Y61 (rear)
Rated output : 25kW×2
Maximum output : 60kW×2
Maximum torque : 137N・m (front) / 195N・m (rear)

Driving battery

Type :Lithium-ion
Total voltage :300V
Total electric energy :12kWh

Driving support

  • S-AWC
  • ECO-mode switch
  • Regenerative level selector / paddle shift
  • ECO-drive support system display
Modified stock car class (EV category)
TWO & FOUR MOTOR SPORTS is an automobile-related company based in Osaka, holding test-ride events for companies and organizations, driving schools, safe driving lecture classes, planning and operating races and rallies, and holding and operating lecture classes for JAF-certified motor sports licenses. Mitsubishi Motors sponsored this event as a special partner of TWO & FOUR MOTOR SPORTS.


DRIVER Takatsugu Aoki


Age : 56
Birthplace : Osaka, Japan
He has been active in international rallies, various auto 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.



Age : 47
Birthplace : Kingdom of Thailand
He has been active in rallies mainly in Thailand, and has placed high in the Thailand Cross Country Rallies.
Together with Takatsugu Aoki, he will participate in the Asia Cross Country Rally for the first time in his career.

DAY01 August 9(Sat) Bira Circuit / official briefing / starting ceremony

DAY01 August 9 (Sat)

August 9 was the first day of the rally. First, there were inspections and technical checks of all vehicles in the rally. The Outlander PHEV passed them smoothly and went out to the Prologue Run. Although this Prologue Run is only for 14km, it included a special stage (SS) in the form of a time-trial zone. The Outlander PHEV finished this SS in 11th place among 22 participants.
The Ceremonial Start was held 4 hours after the SS in downtown Pattaya Beach. Viewed by many tourists, 38 vehicles in total, comprised of 16 Moto Class and 22 four-wheel vehicles, started one by one. The team took a stride ahead towards the long rally starting from the following day.

09 : 00 AM

Technical checks on all competing vehicles were held from the morning on the first day. The Outlander PHEV passed the checks without any problem.

01 : 50 PM

The Prologue Run (test run) was conducted to decide the order of the following day on rough and undulating road with many ups and downs even in a short distance.

01 : 55 PM

The Outlander PHEV finished this SS in a fairly good time in 11th place among 22 starts.

The Ceremonial Start was in downtown Pattaya Beach, packed with crowds of tourists watching.

The Outlander PHEV went through the start gate, promising with other competitors to finish the tough rally starting from the following day.


Takatsugu Aoki Driver

The course of the SS was a rough, rolling road. The road was narrow, only about 1.5 times wider than a car. With a rather short shakedown distance, I had some worries about how the race would go. I drove in a considerably restrained manner, so I had a feeling that we have much more room left for improvement. With reduced vehicle weight, movements such as back bounce after shaking were reduced, which made it quite easier to turn on corners. The suspension was also working very well, so it was comfortable driving. I left the S-AWC (Super All Wheel Control) turned on for the entire today’s course; it worked perfectly fine.


DAY 02 August 10(Sun) LEG-1 (Pattaya to Sakaeo)

DAY02 August 10 (Sun)

The second day of the rally: The race started in Pattaya, Thailand, and went about 400km to Sakaeo, the town on the border with Cambodia. The course included SS for about 200km long within the entire distance of 400km.

The SS started on the forest road inside a rubber plantation. The road surface condition was flat dirt - perfect condition for the Outlander PHEV. The Outlander PHEV glided out so smoothly without staring the engine - a characteristic of PHEVs.

However, most of this SS course consisted of very deep mud surfaces, in contrast with the flat dirt at the start point. The condition was especially severe at the point 18km after the start of the SS, covered with deep furrows dredged up by the tillers of local farmers. Although the vehicle had higher ground clearance compared with last year, the vehicle ended up losing traction in such deep furrows.

The Outlander PHEV finally managed to escape the dirt furrows after being stuck for four hours. After that, while trying to follow the course but taking detours around places where a deep mud surface was expected, the vehicle arrived at the time-control point , about half way along the entire SS course. Takatsugu Aoki Driver determined that he could not beat the elimination time if he followed the course thereafter; he decided to take a detour for the rest of the SS. The Outlander PHEV made it to the goal before the elimination time and finished the day in 13th place overall.

11 : 20 AM

The start is on a forest road in a rubber plantation.

The Outlander PHEV started on the flat dirt surface where it excels, gliding smoothly in EV driving mode.

03 : 40 PM

After 18km from the start, it got involved in a group of vehicles that had lost traction and wasted a considerable amount of time. It reached the Time control point, where the service team had waited, after about 4-and-a-half hours.

It was the key whether the vehicle could finish the remaining 100km and make to the end. The team decided to go as far as they could and "re-started the SS."

Although the vehicle’s ground clearance was higher compared with that of last year, it faced great difficulty over the river. The team worried for possible risk of time elimination.

04 : 50 PM

The team gave up following the on-course and took a detour to finish the course before elimination time. It finished the day in 13th place overall.

In preparation for the next day’s goal, adjustments were made to address the problem of electricity being consumed from the drive battery faster than it is generated.


Takatsugu Aoki Driver

Although the potential of the machine itself was higher, furrows as deep as that were just too tough. Maybe I was pressing my luck too far because I felt more confident that I could handle these conditions with raised ground clearance. However, with reduced vehicle weight, it was easier to escape after losing traction compared to last year. Also when restarting, I was able to drive with torque without revving up, which is a characteristic of motors, so it was very easy to drive.


Yasuo Tanaka Technology Policy Planning Dept.Development Engineering Office,Mitsubishi Motors Corporation

The good point is that we resolved the various problems that we found last year, and the driver could actually feel those improvements made. I was relieved to see the vehicle arrived at the goal today. I know that we still have a long way to go, but our first goal is to cross the finish line.


DAY 03 August 11(Mon) LEG-2 (Sakaeo to Sakaeo)

DAY03 August 11 (Mon)

The third day of the rally: The race was held on a loop course about 380km long, starting and finishing at the town of Sakaeo in Thailand.

The distance to the start of the special stage was about 90km.

After the SS, which is about 240km long, the course goes a further 50km and back to the hotel.

Although the Outlander PHEV started smoothly from 13th place, the left front tire went flat after 4km.

This trouble resulted in losing about 8 to 10 minutes, and also caused the vehicle to drop several places.

However, the rest of the stage went pretty smoothly.

What troubled the team the most last year was the long spell of rainy weather. However, this year, unusual clear days continued despite being in the rainy season in Thailand, providing a rather dry course.

Partly due to such favorable road surface condition, the Outlander PHEV progressed smoothly.

The team made up for the time lost due to the flat tire trouble, and in the end finished the day in 12th place, one notch above the result of the previous day.

11 : 20 AM

Although the air conditioner wasn't working when waiting for the start, the vehicle started off safely.

Despite being in the rainy season, clear weather continued and the course was relatively dry. The Outlander PHEV could drive smoothly thanks to the good road condition.

11 : 40 AM

Even though the vehicle was driving smoothly, the front left tire went flat after 4km.
Losing about 8-10 minutes, the team dropped several spots.

After resolving the trouble, the Outlander PHEV went on smoothly through the varied course including river-crossing, rock section, flat dirt, sand surface and jungle.

03 : 30 PM

The Outlander PHEV made up for the time lost due to the flat tire trouble, and in the end finished the day in 12th place overall, one notch above the result of the previous day.


Takatsugu Aoki Driver

Today’s special stage course included wide variety of situations, such as a river crossing, rock section, flat dirt, sand, and jungle. I felt the strong potential of the Outlander PHEV in flat dirt, capitalizing on the reduced vehicle weight, and the rock section, which was easier to accomplish with raised ground clearance.
I’m trying to use the save mode cleverly enough so that I can use the motor power when I need it.
I am also improving in my use of S-AWC, which makes driving easier.


Yasuo Tanaka Technology Policy Planning Dept.Development Engineering Office,Mitsubishi Motors Corporation

I am delighted to see that we were able to continue the race for two consecutive days without being caught by elimination time. It seems that the driver is also enjoying the drive. I have a good feeling that tomorrow is going to be another good day.


DAY04 August 12(Tue) LEG-3 (Sakaeo to the border of Thailand and Cambodia and to Angkor Wat)

DAY04 August 12 (Tue)

The fourth day of the rally: The vehicles departed from Sakaeo, Thailand, heading in a convoy for the border with Cambodia.

Passing the border to Cambodia, the left-hand traffic suddenly changes to right-hand traffic. The road condition is a mixture of paved and unpaved surfaces. Even on paved surface there are some large holes, and the road surface condition cannot be described as easy.

It was about 80km from the hotel of Sakaeo to the starting point of the SS. The SS was about 170km long, and it took about 20km from the goal of SS to the hotel. The course was about 270km long in total.

Based on experience, the team was expecting that the first SS in Cambodia would be a high-speed course. However, in addition to the lack of rain for some time, the road improvement was progressing at an incredible speed, resulting in an “ultra-high-speed” course.

The Outlander PHEV marked the 9th fastest time in this SS, and moved up the overall table to 11th place when arrived at the goal in Angkor Wat.

11 : 30 AM

Entering Cambodia, the Outlander PHEV drove through the paved and unpaved roads. The road surface conditions were not in so good.

The left-hand traffic in Thailand suddenly changes to right-hand traffic in Cambodia. The scenery also changes dramatically from Cambodia.

The first SS in Cambodia was an ultra-high-speed course. With the road improvements and maintenance were well advanced, the average speed was faster than expected.

The driver needs concentration to watch out for large holes even on paved roads.

02 : 00 PM

Thanks to the flat dirt course the team excelled at, the Outlander PHEV arrived at the goal in Angkor Wat, moving up the overall table to 11th place.


Yasuo Tanaka Technology Policy Planning Dept.Development Engineering Office,Mitsubishi Motors Corporation

I was so glad that we were able to finish the SS for three days completely free of trouble. For today, we changed the program of PHEV to make more recharging possible. This is to fully use the power of the motors when accelerating.
Although we assumed the mud road surface of Thailand when preparing underbody settings, we will change the entire setting to cope with flat dirt tomorrow. I am hoping for further improvement in time.


Jun Saito EV/Powertrain System Engineering Dept.,Development Engineering Office,Mitsubishi Motors Corporation

We are adjusting the setting of S-AWC according to the preference of the driver. To be specific, we are trying a setting to make the slight understeering characteristic more neutral. However, this is not possible to achieve completely only with the setting of S-AWC. First, we make the setting securely in terms of hardware, and then the remaining problems are covered by S-AWC. The driver likes the current setting.


DAY05 August 13(Wed) LEG-4(Angkor Wat to Battambang)

DAY05 August 13 (Wed)

The fifth day of the rally: The rally departs from Angkor Wat and heads toward Battambang, the city in western Cambodia.

Although this day’s SS was originally scheduled to be the previous day’s course in the reverse direction, about 110km of the first part of the SS was canceled, due to the risk of the race becoming too fast. As a result, the running distance was changed to about 186km in total: 16km to the start of the SS, the approximately 80km-long SS, and the approximately 90km to the hotel. Further, because road improvement work was being implemented for some length after the start of the SS, the starting point was moved about 10km further away.

For this day, the setting of the electric power system of the Outlander PHEV was changed so that it can recharge the battery more through frequently using the charge mode. The driver also tried to use the regenerative braking, which can recharge the battery more rather than foot braking, allowing for recharging. The regenerated electric power was used for acceleration; the Outlander PHEV finished 6th in this day’s SS.

11 : 00 AM

Yesterday was supposed to be the turnaround point, but concerns for spectators while traveling high speeds on this leg moved us to drop out of this stage at the 110km mark.
On top of that, the start point for the next leg was moved about 10km away from the forecasted area due to road conditions.

It was a high-speed course because about 80% of the course had a firm road surface.

The driver used regenerative braking more frequently than foot braking, allowing for more recharging, and the regenerated electric power was used for acceleration.

11 : 40 AM

The Outlander PHEV finished 6th in this day’s SS, partly as a result of the change in the setting of the electric power system.

The supporting team conducting maintenance work on the Outlander PHEV for the following day.


Takatsugu Aoki Driver

The more often we can use the motor, the faster we can drive it. I feel more ease of driving than when using only the engine. I was also surprised with better fuel economy. I drove the 70km-long special stage at full blast, but the fuel indicator moved only a single notch.
I also feel the secure stiffness of the body, although it is a monocoque structure. I do not hear any creaking sound from the body even after finishing the SS, which shows how secure it is. In addition, there is also a luxuriousness that cannot be felt when using a truck-based model; it better prevents tiredness, which is another big feature of this car.


Jun Saito EV/Powertrain System Engineering Dept.,Development Engineering Office,Mitsubishi Motors Corporation

Because the high-speed course continues after entering Cambodia, we are adjusting the setting with priority on power generation. While fighting the problem of heat generation, we are seeking to make the balance of charge/discharge more efficient. The key is to maintain the battery condition so that the motors can be used the moment the driver wants to use them.


DAY06 August 14(Thu) LEG-5(Battambang to Phnom Penh)

DAY06 August 14 (Thu)

The sixth day of the rally: The rally starts from Battambang, a city in western Cambodia, and ends in Phnom Penh, the capital.

This day’s course was the longest in this rally, with about 20km to the start of the SS, the approximately 210km-long SS, and about 200km from the goal of the SS to the hotel, adding up to about 430km.

The course of this SS went from flat dirt into jungle. Takatsugu Aoki Driver was expecting this to be a very tough SS from the information obtained from various quarters and his experience so far.

His expectation proved him right. After going for about 45km, the team obtained information that the road condition was in quite rough thereafter. The team prioritized finishing the race, and decided to go off the course to get to the check point.

As a result, the Outlander PHEV finished the SS in 17th place, with a result of 15th overall.

09 : 20 AM

Takatsugu Aoki Driver expected this to be a very tough SS from the information obtained from various quarters and his experience so far.

The road surface was far better than expected, and the driving went smoothly.

10 : 40 AM

After driving for about 45km, the team got information that the road condition would become quite rough thereafter. Prioritizing finishing the race, the team decided to go off the course to get to the check point.

12 : 30 PM

Although the team lost several places, dropping to 17th in special stage 5 and 15th overall, it managed to finish the course.
The following day was the final day of the rally.
The team conducted the last maintenance of the vehicle in preparation for finishing the race the next day.


Tetsuya Makita EV Component Research Dept. Development Engineering Office Mitsubishi Motors Corporation

Even though the ground clearance has been raised compared with the previous year, with the suspension function also being reinforced, it was surprising that body-related parts had no trouble so far. Of course the body is reinforced compared with standard production cars, but I am proud that competing in this kind of rally demonstrates high durability of the Outlander PHEV.


Toru Urano EV Component Research Dept., Development Engineering Office,Mitsubishi Motors Corporation

It is inevitable that the electric power of the battery declines when driving at high speed. Thus, the point in this rally is how to recharge the battery with the generator. The workings of the generator will be the key to the outcome of our results. It is important to increase the frequency of high-quality recharging. In addition, when recharge is repeated, the battery becomes heated. The cooling system is the same as that of standard production cars, and I was convinced that this system is stable. The generator also uses the same hardware as standard production cars-we only changed the program so that the vehicle can continue driving while constantly recharging the battery.


DAY 07 August 15(Fri) LEG-6(Phnom Penh to Phnom Penh/award party)

DAY07 August 15 (Fri)

The seventh and final day of the rally: The last day of the Asian Cross Country Rally started from Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.

For this day, the course first goes about 70km from the hotel in Phnom Penh to the start of the SS. Then, after finishing the approximately 50km-long special stage, the course goes back to Phnom Penh for about 70km. Thanks to the distance of 50km for the SS where the battery for driving the motors can be used up, the Outlander PHEV moved all the way up to 2nd position in this special stage. At the same time, it moved up to 14th overall, and succeeded to win the T1E Class for the second year in a row.

10 : 20 AM

The final day was a high-speed course started from Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.

Because the course was relatively flat, the Outlander PHEV was able to drive at high speed.

The vehicle accelerated smoothly on the course the model excels with, also due to the short distance of 50km where it can use up the battery.

11 : 10 AM

Under the favorable condition, it marked the excellent time placing at the 2nd place in the SS, and also went up overall position again. The Outlander PHEV finished all the stages.


Takatsugu Aoki Driver

I became convinced that the development of the PHEV system has further been advanced since last year. The cruising distance using both the motor and engine has doubled. I truly think this is a great evolution happened in just a single year.



Yasuo Tanaka Technology Policy Planning Dept.Development Engineering Office,Mitsubishi Motors Corporation

What I am delighted the most about is that we were able to finish the entire schedule of the rally without any problem in the PHEV system two years in a row. Because the rally turned out to be a high-speed race on surfaces that ensured strong grip, we were also able to obtain data for the S-AWC test that can easily be fed back to standard production cars. Although nothing definite has been decided about next year, I would like to discuss various points after returning to Japan, and would be willing to take on the challenge of stretching the limits.


Completed the rally with a total travelling distance of 1,986km!!

The Outlander PHEV was 14th overall and won the T1E Class.

The Outlander PHEV finished the grueling race with the time of 19 hours 17 minutes 12 seconds to complete the full distance for the second year in a row.

The Outlander PHEV not only showed its high reliability, durability and all-terrain performance, but it also demonstrated that the plug-in hybrid EV system is fully competent even under harsh road conditions.

After the Race

Takatsugu Aoki Driver

It was a rally that brought out the driving performance of the Outlander PHEV

Looking back at this rally...
I now believe that the fact that we had underbody trouble at the testing stage before the start ultimately contributed to the result of being able to reach the goal line. You know, the test run is always important! (laughs)
I think that we were able to conduct testing where we could recognize any strain on unreinforced parts from parts that were reinforced through modification. Of course, all the problems were remedied before we made the actual start.
From the first day to the second day, I was trying to adapt to this year’s system while driving, which evolved from last year, and remembering the feeling of how the new system drove.
From the third day, there was a striking improvement as a result of changes in the recharging system, the timing of regenerative braking, the allocation of torque for front and rear, and other modifications. Travel distance extended dramatically, and my body could feel the superb acceleration.
I was astonished when the vehicle acquired enough speed to keep up with other cars.
In the final special stage, we were able to mark the second fastest time. I believe that was possible because of the setup we made through trial and error, together with the mechanics that manufactured the vehicle and other mechanics in charge of the main parts of the Outlander PHEV.
As a conclusion, I think that this rally provided an occasion for the Outlander PHEV to further bring out its driving performance, such as the driving stability, predictable handling and cruising distance, by adding alterations to the system and adjusting underbody settings.
Please feedback this data obtained through the characteristically rough roads of this rally in the development of standard production cars. I definitely want to see a further advanced Outlander PHEV in the future!
Oh yes, one more thing. I am ready to aim for a higher position next year!! (laughs)

Base for the race-modified vehicle: Outlander PHEV

The Outlander PHEV, which crossed the finish line of Asia Cross Country Rally, is the world’s first (*3) 4WD SUV plug-in hybrid EV. The state-of-the-art next-generation technology of Mitsubishi Motors, “@earth TECHNOLOGY,” realizes incredibly high fuel efficiency and powerful driving derived of twin motor.

Outlander PHEV : Click here for the information on the type of vehicle

Driving performance

Powerful driving and quietness realized by twin motor

Click here for details

Safety performance

Advanced safety performance that assures the trustworthiness of the car

Click here for details

Equipment on-board

One-rank higher practicality with uncompromising usability and comfort

Click here for details

*3: As of April 2014, research by Mitsubishi Motors