Mitsubishi pumps excitement into Canadian Rally Championship
- Three year travel, contingency and award programs benefit all competitors -
Mississauga, ONT. (Nov. 21, 2007) -- MISSISSAUGA, Ont. -- Totally consistent with Mitsubishi's international racing and rally heritage, Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada Inc. (MMSCAN) have announced a three year commitment to a national "rally support program" that encourages amateur participation in organized rallysport -- and directly benefits competitors, volunteers, promoters, organizers and fans of the Canadian Rally Championship (CRC). Canadian rally and motorsport enthusiasts have been eagerly anticipating Mitsubishi's formal involvement with the Canadian rally scene ever since Mitsubishi arrived in Canada five years ago, and will no doubt enthusiastically welcome this announcement.
Launched under the aggressive banner "Mitsubishi. We've come to race.", this multi-tiered program has been carefully structured to provide several levels of support for all eligible Mitsubishi competitors -- plus additional merit based rewards, and recognition for achieving certain goals. This singular program is designed to complement existing CRC programs, to offer meaningful assistance for private competitors, and to help infuse the Mitsubishi brand and competitive philosophy into the fabric of the Canadian rally community and its fans.
"The benefits of Mitsubishi's on-going success in world rally championship wins can be seen directly in the automotive engineering and design success of the all new 2008 Lancer Evolution", said Koji Soga, President and CEO of MMSCAN. "The innovation and benefits brought to our street vehicles can be linked directly to our motorsports heritage."
"Mitsubishi is revered for its durability and engineering prowess" said Larry Futers, Director National Marketing, MMSCAN, "Our cars and trucks have competed in organized competitions all over the world. Events like Paris to Dakar, the Monte Carlo Rally, the Baja 1000, and, the formula one of rallying -- the World Rally Championship. But in Canada, we're not that well known, yet."
The new program will debut on the weekend of Nov 24-25 in Bancroft Ontario, at the Rally of the Tall Pines -- an internationally known motorsport event, and the last competition of the 2007 Canadian Rally Championship calendar. Eligible events for the Mitsubishi Rally Support Program include all six Canadian Rally Championship events -- which begin in February of each year and finish in November -- and Targa Newfoundland, a unique, high speed, pavement only adventure that takes place on public roads in Newfoundland every September, and hosts exotic rally cars from around the world.
Key elements of the three year Mitsubishi Rally Support Program:
Money for Travel -- A travel subsidy will be provided to all eligible Mitsubishi teams entered in Canadian Rally Championship events. Amounts will vary between $200 and $400 depending on the distance traveled by the competitor.
Subsidized Entry Fee -- All eligible Mitsubishi rally teams that start a Canadian Rally Championship event, or Targa Newfoundland, will receive $600.
Event Awards Contingencies -- A results based rewards program featuring cash awards for overall finishes in both Canadian Rally Championship Events and Targa Newfoundland. Winners will be divided into two categories -- 2WD ($250, $500, $1,000) and AWD ($750, $1,000, $1,250).
The Mitsubishi Cup -- Year end awards and recognition for participating teams, with categories for both 2WD and AWD. To provide the resources needed to achieve in the following season, the Mitsubishi Cup will award the top ranking Mitsubishi teams with cash prizes ($1,250, $2,500, $5,000) for both 2WD and AWD competitors
Local Event Support -- The program also includes support for some local rally events and digs deep into the grass roots to acknowledge the contribution of the volunteers who are the core of the sport.
Getting on the Web -- Beginning in the 2008 season, space will be reserved on an upcoming Mitsubishi Rally website where participating teams will have the opportunity to showcase their efforts, post videos and blog entries, dialogue with fellow racers, and reach out to fans.
Merchandise / Promotion -- Mitsubishi branded clothing and other promotional items will be provided to participating teams and some volunteers, with plans to make this clothing available to the public through dealers shortly thereafter. Promotional displays and a strong Mitsubishi presence will be part of every CRC event. And event organizers will be compensated for Mitsubishi's use of space.
"It's all about the competitors, continued Futers, "we want young Canadians competing in our cars. Tough as nails competition in a controlled environment. That's why we're in this. To encourage organized participation, to get folks talking, to spread our style, our philosophy, our enthusiasm. I want to see a red wave of Mitsubishi jackets at every rally, because we're here to race."
This enthusiastic sentiment is clearly reflected in initial comments from CRC entrants. "As a competitor who has competed every year since 2002 in the Canadian Rally Championship, I am over the moon to see Mitsubishi officially involved. Not only is the whole history of the brand interwoven with rally, but as a driver and car builder I can tell you that the Mitsubishi Evolution is the best out of the box rally car that there is. That's why I run them. Also, this program is very well thought out and will be a huge assistance to competitors running Mitsubishis. And Mitsubishi teams are some of the most die-hard competitors of all." said rally driver and car builder Andrew Comrie-Picard.
"A multi-facetted program like the one announced by Mitsubishi in Canada will have a very positive impact on the sport in this country. It is not only excellent incentive for existing competitors, I'm sure it will attract new teams and raise the level of competition everywhere," said Jorge Dascollas, president of the Canadian Association of Rallysport. "This is a very welcome development from a much respected company with a great motorsport history."
Vehicle Eligibility -- Open to any entrant of any Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution vehicle of any age and any entrant of any other Mitsubishi automobile of model year 1998 or later. To be eligible for the awards, the entrant must be considered a starter of the event under CARS rules. Any vehicles entered by MMSCAN are not eligible for program awards.
Canadian Rally Championship events are national in scope and are run by the Canadian Association of Rallysport (CARS) under the auspices of the ASN / FIA, the world governing body for motorsport. These events are comprised of fully prepared rally cars racing against the clock in "special stages" on closed public roads in every imaginable road condition, day and night, winter and summer. Often traveling at speeds over 160 km per hour these high strung competition vehicles containing a driver and a navigator showcase the ultimate in car control and are a blast to watch. Rallysport is growing steadily in North America and Mitsubishi has been a leader worldwide in this sport for many years. More
Targa Newfoundland is one of three remaining all tarmac road / rally events in the world, the others being held in Tasmania and New Zealand. Various classes of fully prepared rally cars and carefully prepared production cars compete in several categories over five consecutive days on the public highways. It is a grueling test of courage, skill and determination where, as the organizers say, cars are driven as they were meant to be, within an organized framework.
The advent of the Mitsubishi Rally Support Program is timely as the motorsport world is widely anticipating the spring 2008 introduction of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution high performance AWD compact sedan, to the Canadian market. The Evolution is a state of the art performance vehicle almost ready to rally, out of the box.
"The whole company is excited about the Lancer Evolution" said Futers, "It's a magical car and it comes at a magical time for Mitsubishi in Canada."