The Outlander PHEV of Two & Four Motorsports faced Leg 5 on the fifth day of the Asia Cross Country Rally, which was on August 13.
In Leg 5, they departed from the hotel in Phrae, and passed the course back to Phrae. A total distance of 380km comprising of Liaison & SS courses was originally set, but due to the rising river water, it was confirmed that there would be some parts in the SS course where driving would be impossible. Therefore, the running distance was shortened to 300km.
It’s currently rainy season in Thailand and it rains everyday. This year, it rains in the evening and the sun shines in the afternoon, and even if there was no rain while driving, they could not avoid the increase of the river’s water level and the muddy road.
The repairing of the aircon for the Outlander PHEV that was broken the other day was completely done and it faced the start of the SS section. There were no problems that occurred during the starting point so it had a great start.
The width of the road for today’s SS course was very narrow and the road was slippery and wet. Many racing cars were troubled by the tough road surface, and there were also many cases of cars getting stuck in those roads.
The most difficult part for the Outlander PHEV was during its time to cross the river. The depth of the river today was even deeper than the one on the first day, and it even reached the doorknob level of the car. Moreover, the flow of the river was fast so both the depth and quickness of the flow were obstacles. A route which had to cross the river and turn right was indicated on the road map, but turning right could not be done. Instead, the route turned towards the left side and after that, it had to turn back to the right side. The driver Takatsugu Aoki broke into the river without knowing that and failed to reach his destination.
When he turned left, he noticed an escape road so he had to turn the car back, but then the door mirror got folded up so there was no other option but to turn the car back through his instincts. When luck was in his favor, the flow of river in front of the car suddenly increased. He used the water current to move the car backwards, then he turned left and then crossed the river.
However, the water entered the car and soaked a part of the car, reaching its pedals. It might have had an effect towards its electric system, but there was no need to worry about this Outlander PHEV participating in their third year in the Asia Cross Country Rally. It achieved 18th place in the general ranking, and 1st place in its class on the SS5. It achieved 20th place in the general category and 1st place in its class on the overall results on the last day.
Takatsugu Aoki said in advance on the last day, “The aircon was completely fixed. Tough driving can cause the engine to become overheat, but there’s no problem in going back to the start little by little. It generated a few strange noises when I was driving on the latter high speed course, but the only problem was that the stones got stuck in the tires. I want to drive perfectly tomorrow.”
For tomorrow’s Leg 6, they will depart from the hotel in Phrae and will be heading to the starting point of this rally in Chiang Mai. It has a 45km SS course, and its total distance to be covered would be 280km. They are finally facing the goal of the 2,400km long rally on the 6th day.
Note: Since the results are updated frequently, there may be changes in the result when you check it.
(Translated by Claire Marie Sausora)