Mitsubishi Motors UK has today announced the restructure of its British-based motorsport campaigns. The company has confirmed that its two-car works rally team will not compete in 2009. The decision has been taken due to the current ...
Mitsubishi Motors UK has today announced the restructure of its British-based motorsport campaigns.
The company has confirmed that its two-car works rally team will not compete in 2009. The decision has been taken due to the current economic climate and the subsequent pressures affecting the automotive industry as a whole.
The company's withdrawal from top-level competition in the UK comes after four years of success in the British Rally Championship and previously a season in the National series.
During the past five years, the team has regularly been at the front of the field. It claimed the National Production title in 2004 and the British Team's title in 2005, before going on to win both the British Team's and Driver's titles in 2007 and 2008*.
"As the most successful manufacturer-backed rally team in Britain in recent years it is disappointing to withdraw from competition this season", said Ralliart General Manager Paul Brigden. "The deciding factor is purely due to the global economic downturn and nothing to do with the smaller issues that we have had to deal with recently."
Mr. Brigden continues: "Since our UK rally programmes began, it has been the company's wish to participate in British motorsport. Therefore, if market conditions become more favourable, then we will explore every avenue in order to resurrect the works team and continue from where we left off. We would even consider a return in 2010 if circumstances permit."
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved with Mitsubishi's UK works rally programme: our crews, technicians, management team, sponsors and suppliers", concluded Mr. Brigden.
MMUK is pleased to report that its successful one-make rally-series, the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge, will continue as planned for its ninth consecutive season this year.
Once again, the official series for Group N Lancers will follow its popular and proven format, aligning itself with the MSA Gravel Rally Championship for six events - plus a round alongside the British Championship. It has also been confirmed that the series will continue to offer a valuable prize fund.
Having taken an interest in circuit racing during recent months, MMUK has stated that it will not officially participate in this form of motorsport until trading conditions improve. However, it has said that it will observe with interest the progress of the new Evo X Series, which was launched at the Autosport Show earlier this month.
*Subject to the outcome of an MSA hearing in February.