Mitsubishi Motors captures first SCCA ProRally Championship Higgins' Ojibwe Forest SCCA ProRally win not without drama BEMIDJI, Minn., Aug. 24 -- In a display of perseverance and professionalism, Team Mitsubishi Motorsports America's SCCA ...
Mitsubishi Motors captures first SCCA ProRally Championship
Higgins' Ojibwe Forest SCCA ProRally win not without drama
BEMIDJI, Minn., Aug. 24 -- In a display of perseverance and professionalism, Team Mitsubishi Motorsports America's SCCA ProRally driver David Higgins and co-driver Daniel Barritt beat mechanical problems that would have crippled lesser teams, bringing Mitsubishi Motors North America its first overall motorsports title on U.S. soil.
Thirteen miles before the finish of the final 17 mile-long special stage of the 145-mile Ojibwe Forests ProRally, Higgins' SCCA Open Class Lancer Evolution lost the oil in the transmission, taking out the center differential, front-wheel-drive and clutch. Barely slowing, he continued to race on to finish the stage, his transmission stuck in 4th gear. He then had to nurse his car another 45 miles on the open highway to the final checkpoint and the 2003 SCCA ProRally Championship.
"David Higgins showed his true professionalism by bringing home a car that very few other drivers would have been able to do," says Richard Kelley, manager of Team Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports America. "Such a feat proves not only David's skill, but just how truly tough and dependable the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is," said Kelley during the victory celebration.
"All credit goes to a team that did an absolutely fantastic job," said Higgins shortly after exiting from his mud-splattered and dusty Lancer Evolution. "It's not just Daniel and me who won the Manufacturers' championship. We're just two people out of 36 who all worked hard this season to get here. It's great. And when you win for a manufacturer with a great rally racing heritage like Mitsubishi's, it makes it all that more special."
Also celebrating is Higgins' teammate, Lauchlin O'Sullivan, who placed third, extending his points lead for second place in the overall ProRally championship. If O'Sullivan continues on this pace with the two races remaining in the series, he could bring Mitsubishi a one-two finish in the overall championship.
With two Lancer Evolutions solidly at the top of the SCCA ProRally standings, Mitsubishi Motors is clearly demonstrating the legendary "Evo's" superiority during their first season.
"To have such a dominating season and a SCCA ProRally national championship, where a win is decided under the harshest of circumstances, in all kinds of weather on all kinds of road surfaces, is a perfect introduction for the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution," said Kelley. "Both our race-prepared ProRally Lancer Evolution and our race-bred street version share the concept that the Lancer Evolution is a complete system designed for both tremendous poise and ultimate performance. It makes a good driver great and a great driver spectacular."
"Even better," Kelley continues, "Besides the Lancer Evolution, U.S. consumers can experience much of this same fun later this year, through the two newest members of the expanding Lancer family, Lancer Ralliart and Sportback Ralliart."
Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (MMNA) is responsible for all of the North American operations of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation. As a single company consolidated on January 1, 2003, MMNA and its subsidiaries manufacture, distribute, finance and market Mitsubishi brand coupes, convertibles, sedans and sport-utility vehicles through a network of nearly 700 dealers in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Mitsubishi Motors sold its first vehicle in the U.S. in 1981, and began building cars here in 1988 at its manufacturing facility in Normal, Ill. For more information, call the Mitsubishi Motors News Bureau at 888-560-6672.