Team Mitsubishi RALLIART Wins at Its First Attempt in the Asia Cross Country Rally 2022
After a three-year absence, the AXCR got under way on the 21st in Buriram in the northeastern part of Thailand, where the first Special Stage (SS) of the rally and a ceremonial start was held. Leg 1 on the 22nd to Leg 3 on the 24th included the SS located in the harsh terrain of Buriram. Leg 4 on the 25th saw the rally cross the border into Cambodia, while Leg 5 on the 26th ended at the spectacular ceremonial finish near Angkor Wat, the famed tourist attraction in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The first half of the rally in Thailand consisted mainly of high-speed stages on rough, dry unpaved roads, while the second half was more challenging with large, deep puddles scattered on muddy roads caused by heavy rain, and a tougher course compared to the previous five stages awaited the participants in Cambodia.
Chayapon Yotha, driving the car #105 Triton/Strada, finished fifth in SS1 on the first day. On the second day, he set the fastest time in SS2, the longest SS of this year's AXCR with a 203 km course, and climbed to the top overall position. After that, the powerful driving performance and nimble handling of the Triton/Strada helped him to finish SS3 in seventh, SS4 in sixth, SS5 in fifth, and SS6 in fifth, and he maintained the lead he had established in SS2 to take the overall win.
Rifat Sungkar in car #118 finished SS1 in sixth place following his teammate. He was aiming for higher positions, but after suffering a flat tire and subsequent damages to the chassis in SS2, he dropped to eighth position. The team's repair work allowed him to continue the rally the next day, and he finished fourth in SS3, fifth in SS4, fourth in SS5, and seventh in SS6, completing the rally in fifth overall while proving the toughness of the Triton/Strada.
Sakchai Hantrakul in car #119 tested positive for Covid-19 after SS1 and unfortunately had to retire the rally.
Hiroshi Masuoka, team director of Team Mitsubishi Ralliart, commented:
"For this year’s AXCR, we built on the reliability and durability of the by Triton/Strada tuning the engine and chassis, and entered the rally with specifications relatively close to the production car. Even so, the two Triton/Strada rally cars delivered and I am very proud of our strong finish. The superb performance came down to the drivers, who were able to maximize the Triton/Strada’s capabilities. I would like to thank all not only the drivers, but also the engineers and service guys who worked every day to fine-tune the vehicles perfectly, all the staff who provided support, and the know-how that Mitsubishi Motors has accumulated over the years. The key to it all was the tremendous support from our sponsors and the passionate messages of support we received from fans around the world. We would like to share the knowledge we gained through our participation in the AXCR back into the development of production vehicles, and build Mitsubishi vehicles that are even tougher, more powerful, and more reliable."
AXCR 2022 Auto Category Overall Results
1st Chayapon Yotha (Mitsubishi Triton/Strada) 8:22:42
2nd Jaras Jaengkamolkulchai (Toyota Hilux Revo) 8:28:29
3rd Ikuo Hanawa (Toyota Fortuner) 8:28:34
4th Takuma Aoki (Toyota Fortuner) 8:38:26
5th Rifat Sungkar (Mitsubishi Triton/Strada) 8:39:56
6th Tawee Neanna (Isuzu D-Max) 8:51:24
Daily reports AXCR special website
Daily reports from November 21st, the first day of the rally, to the last leg on November 26th are posted on Mitsubishi Motors' AXCR special website.