Amsterdam - Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) announced today that it will restructure its motor sports engineering activities over the next 12 months to prepare for a full-fledged return to the FIA WRC (World Rally Championship) in 2004. MMC will not take part in the FIA WRC in 2003 to concentrate fully on a successful return the following year.
Andrew Cowan, Chairman of Ralliart Europe ( RAE ) and Sven Quandt, head of MMC's motor sports activities, jointly voted for this step after a thorough evaluation of the current situation. Quandt said: "This decision is necessary as our engineering resources in Japan and Europe are currently in the process of being restructured. We need some time to return as a top WRC team, just as MMC needed time to return to profitability and growth over the last 18 months. We aim for a successful return with a competitive car in the near future to the benefit of the Mitsubishi Motors brand."
MMC Executive Vice President Ulrich Walker added: "We have already initiated new projects over the last few months and together with our colleagues in Japan and Europe we are looking forward to renewed success soon."
All resources at RAE in Rugby (UK) will continue to be utilized in full. Furthermore, RAE will participate in selected rallies in 2003 as part of its development work.
Further strategic decisions will be announced within the next weeks. Mitsubishi Motors has been the FIA Manufacturers' World Champion once and won the Driver's title four times. MMC's first world rally victory was in 1974 at the East African Safari Rally.