Mitsubishi ends Dakar efforts.

Despite insisting that it would bid to reclaim the Dakar crown it lost to rival Volkswagen on this year's event in South America, event stalwart Mitsubishi has stunned raid fans by announcing that it will withdraw from all future cross-country rallies with immediate effect.

In common with many other major players in motorsport, the Japanese marque has cited 'the deterioration in global economy' for forcing its hand in the decision, which comes after its Pajero model racked up twelve victories, including seven consecutive, in the Dakar, as well as further success in other rounds of the FIA raid series.

The unparalleled record also provided valuable 4WD technology to Mitsubishi's production vehicles, aiding their durability and off-road performance, and was followed by the introduction of the all-new Racing Lancer for this year's Dakar, which took place in Argentina and Chile following terrorist threats causing the cancellation of the traditional route through northern Africa in 2008.

The four-strong official Mitsubishi team made a cautious start to the 2009 event, allowing BMW and Volkswagen the early glory, but struggled to make up the gap as its cars fell by the wayside deeper into the event. Joan 'Nani' Roma was the only classified finisher, having received a reprieve on a cancelled stage, but trailed the winning VW of Giniel de Villiers in tenth spot. Team-mates Stephane Peterhansel, Luc Alphand and Hiroshi Masuoka fell foul to a combination of reliability problems and illness before the halfway point of the two-week event.

In line with the likes of former WRC rivals Subaru and Suzuki, which recently announced their withdrawal from the premier rally series, Mitsubishi blamed the sudden current global economic crisis for its decision, claiming that the company needed 'to focus its resources more tightly'.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Joan `Nani` Roma - Mitsubishi Lancer   [pic credit: Mitsubishi]
Stephane Peterhansel en-route to 13th Dakar win
Stephane Peterhansel celebrates his 13th Dakar win
Stephane Peterhansel celebrates his 13th Dakar win
13.02.2016 - Alain FOULON (FRA) - Gilles DELARCHE (FRA) Mitsubishi EVO X
Jari Ketomaa, Mitsubishi R5, Vaakuna Rally [Credit: Mitsubishi]
12.02.2016 - Jim VAN DEN HEUVEL (NLE) - Lisette BAKKER (NLD) Mitsubishi EVOLUTION X
12.02.2016 - Alain FOULON (FRA) - Gilles DELARCHE (FRA) Mitsubishi EVO X
12.02.2016 - Alain FOULON (FRA) - Gilles DELARCHE (FRA) Mitsubishi EVO X
Mikko Hirvonen, Mini, Dakar Rally [Credit: Mini]
Nasser Al-Attiyah, Mini, Dakar Rally [Credit: BMW Mini]
Sebastien Loeb - Peugeot 2008DKR16   [pic courtesy Red Bull]
Carlos Sainz - Peugeot 2008DKR16   [pic courtesy Red Bull]
Stephane Peterhansel, Dakar Rally [Credit: Red Bull]
Sebastien Loeb, Dakar Rally [Credit: Red Bull]
Sebastien Loeb, Dakar Rally [Credit: Red Bull]
Sebastien Loeb, Dakar Rally [Credit: Red Bull]

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daniel edone - Unregistered

February 04, 2009 4:13 PM

wow they lose and then they bail out ! they sure have been a dominant scene in raids ! especially the Dakar ! will VW be next? such a shame so many spetators in this years Dakar ! who knows maybe the organizers made money? hope so !I fear it will keep on getting worse ! I'm a pessimist not an optimist ! I don't see how Moto GP can fight off Superbike with a paltry 17 bike grid ? how can F1 teams justify it ?

Dale - Unregistered

February 04, 2009 9:05 PM

It's easier to justify huge racing budgets if you're winning - but spending millions (or hundreds of millions) to go out there & prove to everyone that there are other manufacturers better than you isnt so clever. For Mitsubishi to get beaten by VW, Hummer, Nissan, etc is very bad for their image, worse than not racing! It's no accident Honda F1, Suzuki WRC & Kawasaki MotoGP left after finishing 2008 last of the manufacturer entries, while Subaru has gone for years now without being championship contenders. Remember, budgets to finish last for a manufacturer are no less than those required to win ... in most cases they are actually higher since sponsors are subsidizing the winning teams.

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