WRC 1988-1992

WRC 1988-1992

1988 – 1992 World Rally Championship

MITSUBISHI MOTORS launched the new GALANT in October 1987. Its high-performance version, the GALANT VR-4 featured a 2.0-liter DOHC turbo engine with a full-time 4WD system and 4WS (four-wheel steering), which attracted a lot of attention. Despite the restrictive Group A regulations, the 4G63 engine installed in the GALANT VR-4 delivered more than 300 horsepower from the beginning of its career. In 1988, MITSUBISHI MOTORS set out to take up the challenge of the WRC for the first time in five years by forming two teams: the Works team, which will contest the European rounds of the World Rally Championship (WRC), and the Semi-Works team, which will compete mainly in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) with Kenjiro Shinozuka under the management of Japan's TASK Engineering.
The GALANT VR-4’s debut in the WRC was in New Zealand in July 1988, when Kenjiro Shinozuka took part in the rally within the semi-works team. Shinozuka also won races in Malaysia and Australia. As he did the previous year at this rally, Shinozuka went on to win the final Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) round, the Himalayan Rally, to become the very first champion of the newly created APRC. In the meantime, the WRC Works team, RALLIART Europe, competed in the final WRC round, the RAC rally, held in the UK in November of that same year. Although the car ended up retiring, it set the fastest time in two special stages and demonstrated the full potential of the GALANT VR-4.
In 1989, MITSUBISHI MOTORS appointed Ari Vatanen as their top driver, and opted for entrusting the second car to the most suitable drivers. Michael Ericsson won the 1000 Lakes Rally (Finland), the third rally that they entered that year. In the RAC Rally, Pentti Airikkala took the overall victory and Vatanen finished fifth. This was a huge success for the team who won two out of four rallies that year. In 1990, competitors were allowed only a limited number of engines. For the mid-season round, the 1000 Lakes Rally, a new competitive viscous coupling center differential was fitted. This upgrading proved successful, allowing the team to hold third position in the Manufacturers' Championship. In June 1991, the company introduced an evolution of the Group A Galant based on a standard production model with minor changes, and finished third in the Manufacturers' Championship for the second year in a row. In October, Shinozuka became the first Japanese driver to win a WRC round, the Rally of Ivory Coast.
The MITSUBISHI MOTORS team was planning to debut their Group A LANCER EVOLUTION, which was announced in 1991, in the Rallye Monte-Carlo, the opening round of the 1993 season. In order to do so, they basically stopped any major development of the GALANT VR-4 and reduced the number of rally entries in 1992 to six. However, thorough improvements on the GALANT VR-4 were carried out at each race, and a lightweight version (less than 1,200 kg) was introduced. In Europe, Timo Salonen's fifth place was the highest result, but Shinozuka took his second victory in a row at the Ivory Coast Rally held in October, bringing the GALANT VR-4's total of WRC wins to six. The final round, the RAC, was the last WRC participation for the GALANT VR-4. On this occasion, it was fitted with the new 4WD system that was scheduled to be used on the Group A LANCER EVOLUTION for its debut in the opening rally in 1993 for the purpose of testing it in full-scale rally conditions.


1989 1000 Lakes Rally 1st Overall GALANT VR-4 M. Ericsson
1989 RACRally 1st Overall GALANT VR-4 P. Airikkala
1990 Ivory Coast Rally 1st Overall GALANT VR-4 P. Tauziac
1991 Swedish Rally 1st Overall GALANT VR-4 K. Eriksson
1991 Ivory Coast Rally 1st Overall GALANT VR-4 K. Shinozuka
1992 Ivory Coast Rally 1st Overall GALANT VR-4 K. Shinozuka



Overall length 4,560 mm
Overall width 1,695 mm
Engine model 4G63 4-cylinder DOHC turbo
Displacement 1,997 cc
Maximum output 290 ps
Maximum torque 34 kg-m