RACING NEWS

ProRally Champion Mitsubishi Will Keep Pressure on at Wild West

ProRally Champion Mitsubishi Will Keep Pressure on at Wild West image

Text: / Photos: | posted August 30, 2003 11:00

CYPRESS, Calif. - Even though Mitsubishi Motors North America (MMNA) locked up the Sports Car Club of America ProRally Championship with David Higgins' overall victory at last weekend's Ojibwe Forests ProRally in Minnesota, that doesn't mean he and teammate Lauchlin O'Sullivan will slow their pace for the remainder of the season. The duos' all-wheel-drive, 400-plus-horsepower Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions will be challenging for season win number seven during the two-day, 150-mile-long Wild West International Rally.

Wild West will be run over Washington State forest roads near Olympia, Washington, next weekend (Sept. 6-7). Team Mitsubishi Motorsports America has captured six wins out of the seven, with all the victories at the hands of Higgins, who repeats as ProRally Champion of the nine event national series.

Higgins and co-driver Daniel Barritt also captured Driver/Co-Driver of the year honors with the Minnesota victory - the rare double double of ProRally. This is Higgins' second-consecutive John Woolf Cup, handed out to the Overall Top Driver of the SCCA ProRally Championship.

O'Sullivan is in a close points battle for second place overall with rival Tim O'Neil giving battle in a specially built all-wheel-drive Ford Focus. If O'Sullivan finishes the grueling rally ahead of O'Neil, the ground will be flooded with champagne again as Team Mitsubishi could celebrate a one-two in the national championship series.

With two Open Class Lancer Evolutions at the top of the SCCA ProRally standings, Mitsubishi is proving the high performance sports sedan's superiority in its first year of sales in the U.S.

"The SCCA ProRally Championship is the only U.S. motorsports series that takes cars off showroom floors, modifies them for maximum speed and safety, and then races them at enormous speeds on all kinds of treacherous road surfaces and in extreme outdoor elements," says Richard Kelley, manager of motorsports for Mitsubishi Motors North America.

"To win under these harshest of circumstances is testament to a car's ultimate engineering and technical superiority; to have such a dominating season and a national championship speaks volumes for the Lancer Evolution's vast capabilities."

"Our SCCA ProRally Lancer Evolutions are so consistent, they have hardly put a wheel wrong all season," says Kelley. "Just as with our street version Lancer Evolution, they validate the concept of a performance car as a complete overall system with equal parts power, control and dependability.

"Even better," says Kelley, "U.S. consumers can experience much of this great balance and exciting spirit in the two newest members of the expanding Lancer family - Lancer Ralliart and Lancer Sportback Ralliart when they reach showrooms later this all."