Mitsubishi Motors' 2005 motor sport campaign kicks off with the awesome Telefonica Dakar Rally in January, where it will be bidding for its fifth consecutive victory and tenth overall win. The team's assault will be led by Hiroshi Masuoka and Stephane Peterhansel, both past Dakar Rally winners, along with former world downhill skiing champion Luc Alphand and 2004 motorcycle event winner Joan 'Nani' Roma. All four will be driving Mitsubishi Pajero / Montero Evolutions, while female driver Andrea Mayer will be playing a vital support role in an official Mitsubishi L200 pick-up truck.
Mitsubishi's Motors will also be focusing on its return to the FIA World Rally Championship in 2005, with the much improved Lancer world rally car. The team's challenge with the Lancer WRC05 will be led by Finland's Harri Rovanpera and Frenchman Gilles Panizzi, while "Gigi" Galli will be looking to further improve on his impressive 2004 performances. The series kicks off in Monte-Carlo in January and will take the team to all four corners of the globe during the 16-round series.
Akira Kijima, Managing Director Head of Product Operations for Mitsubishi Motors and responsible for motor sport activities, said: "Mitsubishi Motors' involvement in motor sport is not merely a promotional activity, but is really at the heart of the Mitsubishi Motors brand. We feed the technology and know-how gained from our various motor sport activities directly into all of our cars, as their Sporty DNA and SUV DNA, making production vehicles that have not only improved durability and safety, but also good road performance and driving capability. Mitsubishi cars have long been known for their sturdiness, endurance and robustness, and it is these qualities that are derived from our motor sport participation. We intend to strengthen motor sport activities and, in so doing, raise the value of the Mitsubishi Motors brand."
Mitsubishi Motors established MMSP GmbH in November 2002 as an independent company to oversee and manage all official motor sport activities, including cross-country rallies and the WRC. MMSP is promoting a three-year plan covering the reorganization of WRC activities, which was launched in January 2004, as well as the development of cross-country activities. This year, in October, Mitsubishi Motors appointed Isao Torii to head MMSP GmbH. He was previously involved in the vehicle testing branch of the R&D division and will reinforce co-operation with Mitsubishi Motors and MMSP for the development of the world rally car and cross-country rally car. Approaching the 2005 season, co-operation with MMSP and Mitsubishi Motors R&D division will be increased by programs such as delegated engineers who will also promote feedback from motor sport activities to the development group for the improvement of technology in production cars, as well as other human resource exchanges and technology transfers between MMSP and Mitsubishi's motor sport unit in Okazaki.Published 8 December 2004