The decision to use passive differentials is unusual, but reflects MMSP’s determination to ensure that the chassis is fundamentally sound and effective before introducing refinements. A semi-automatic gearchange is likely to be developed during 2004, once MMSP is satisfied that the Lancer WRC04 is living up to its potential, in terms of both performance and durability. Active differentials are also under consideration, but are not an immediate priority.
Brembo will supply brakes and once again, MMSP is placing the accent on simplicity. The braking system will not incorporate water cooling initially.
The Lancer WRC04 began testing in mid-October and will undergo a comprehensive development programme in readiness for its first appearance on the 2004 Monte Carlo Rally, when French star Gilles Panizzi leads an all-new driving team. In its first three months, the new Mitsubishi will face tarmac and ice in Monte Carlo, snow in Sweden, and dusty loose-surface stages in Mexico.
‘’We are not expecting too much from the car at first. At the moment, it is too early to say anything about performance. It is very new and we have had very little time to design and test it. We can expect a few problems in the test period, as you would with any prototype car, because the test schedule is very tight. The idea was to do something quite simple to start with. We know we have plenty of things to learn. I hope it will be a little bit faster than the old car at first. We will try to develop the car step by step and I hope in the second half of the season that the car will become more competitive. We can make progress faster this way, but we are not expecting instant results. We are competing in a tough environment.’’ Fornaris stated.Published 27 November 2003