Mitsubishi Motors UK has announced that this year's Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge UK champion will be awarded a works Mitsubishi drive in a brand new Group N Lancer Evolution X, in this year's Wales Rally GB.
The car will run as a works entry alongside the existing Mitsubishi UK team - which has recently parted company with Phillip Morrow, the winner of last years Evo Challenge [see separate stories] - and appear in full Ralliart livery.
It will also be the first time that the car, which is currently being built by ADR Motorsport, will compete in the UK and therefore, is destined to attract a great deal of public and media attention.
"We are delighted to be able to offer this prize to the winner of the 2008 Evolution Challenge," said general manager for Ralliart Paul Brigden.
"We see that competing in a round of the World and British Rally Championships as a great opportunity, as it will provide a high profile introduction into what it's like to drive for a works team."
This prize differs from the award presented for the previous five years, where the Evo Challenge UK champion was offered a year's contract as a works driver.
"The change has come about due to recent circumstances, MMUK's plans for its 2009 rally campaign yet to be finalised and because the development of the Evolution X is still in its early stages," added a statement to the press. "This is also why the announcement has not been made until this point in the season.
"However, Mitsubishi states that as well as being awarded the prize drive, the winner of the 2008 Evolution Challenge will also be added to the shortlist of drivers if
a works team is entered in next year's British Rally Championship."
"There is a great crop of drivers competing in this year's Evolution Challenge and so far, 2008 has proved to be the closest yet. We are therefore looking forward to seeing how the winner gets on in the Rally GB so we can make sure they are in an excellent position for selection if we are able to go forward with the works team in the BRC next year," added Bridgen.
Two rounds remain in this year's Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge UK, namely the Todds Leap Ulster International Rally on August 22-23 and the Bulldog Rally on October 18.