The Outlander PHEV of Two & Four Motorsports finally began their bid for the Asia Cross Country Rally on August 9.
For today’s schedule, they rallied with a 205km Liaison and a 176km SS from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son, but a truck caused an accident and fell down at the first half of the SS course, so the road was closed. Because of that, the 4-wheeled vehicles were curtailed from the first half of the SS course (motorcycles were still allowed to pass the course by slipping through the side of the accident area).
The greatest highlight area of today’s SS course was the part where the vehicles had to cross a 20-30 degree river. There’s a small suspension bridge constructed on that river area and motorcycles can pass by that suspension bridge. However, there is no other way for the cars but to cross the river. The rallying cars successively entered the river after arriving at the riverside; we were able to witness the moment they floated on the water while continuing to cross the river. The Outlander PHEV entered the river without hesitation and was able to cross it easily at its pace. It achieved 17th place after finishing Leg 1 and was 1st place in its class.
Many people around the area were worried because it is an electric vehicle, but since it underwent enough tests, it defied those anxieties and successfully crossed the river. At this point, the water was deep enough to submerge its hood so this situation is even tougher than the test course.
After today’s rally, the driver Takatsugu Aoki said, “The entire output of its system is improving compared with last year. Compared to last year’s model, the size of its tires were upgraded and its suspension stroke was also increased so it certainly improved when I drove on bad roads. However, since its tires are bigger and its overall gear ratio was also higher, it was a little bit slow during the start of the race. Also, when I encountered intense rolling, it was difficult for me to do the cornering.”
Yasuo Tanaka, leader of the Mitsubishi Motor Technical Support Team, said, “Its control system that we improved this time caused a problem at the start of the race. The route to the first half of the SS course was cancelled, and the engineering staff did not make it on time at the service point where the restarting place was launched, so Mr. Aoki drove this machine even though it still had problems.The first day really was a tough one. We plan to analyze the data and cope with it tonight.”
Leg 2 for tomorrow will be from Sukhothai to Phrae, with a total of 500km, including a 364km Liaison and a 132km SS course.
(Translated by Claire Marie Sausora)