CC Mitsubishi's Outlander PHEV leads class after day one in Portugal
For Immediate Release
Friday, October 23rd, 2015
Baja Portalegre 500 cross-country rally: Leg 1 result
Mitsubishi Motors’ Outlander PHEV comes in 32nd overall (1st in class)
Portugal, October 23, 2015 - The first leg (173.94km) of the Baja Portalegre 500 cross-country rally took place on October 23. Mitsubishi Motors’ Outlander PHEV, driven by Japan’s Hiroshi Masuoka and navigated by Frenchman Pascal Maimon, finished in a time of one hour 16 minutes and 10.71 seconds to take third place in the National Rally, 32nd overall and first in the TE class.
Portugal’s Carlos Sousa and Paulo Fiuza, running in the FIA T1 category, were the first of the 89 teams to start the 5.62 km Super Special Stage (SSS1), a legendary section in this rally, with several hundred spectators in attendance. The competitive action was held in partially cloudy conditions and an ambient outside temperature of around 20°Centigrade.
Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV finished the stage in a time of five minutes 26.71 seconds that put it in an excellent second place in the National Rally and 26th overall and enabled Masuoka to display the car’s real potential.
The second selective section of 83.15km was resurrected for this year’s event and took competitors over a challenging off-road route through some of the remotest parts of eastern Portugal. The special started just north of the village of Ponte de Sor and wound its way in an easterly direction along gravel tracks and dusty trails, via a track north of Alter de Ghão, to finish near Portalegre - at the same finishing point as the opening super special stage.
The first car began the second special at 15.10hrs before teams returned to the NERPOR exhibition center in Portalegre for a service stop at the end of the day. Cloudy conditions prevailed for the longer of the day’s specials and the temperature dropped slightly to 18°Centigrade.
Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV finished the stage in a time of one hour 10 minutes and 44 seconds and that put the crew in third position in the stage rankings for the National Rally. That meant Masuoka and Maimon finished the opening leg in a similar position in the national event and in an unofficial 32nd overall.
The Portuguese crew of Ricardo Porém and Jorge Monteiro claimed leg one honors in the overall automobile category in a time of one hour and 46.36 seconds. The fellow Portuguese team of João Ramos and Vitor Jesus put in an excellent performance to finish second overall, one minute and 4.58 seconds behind their rivals.
A Word from Hiroshi Masuoka – Team Captain and Driver
“This is the first time I’ve competed in the Baja Portalegre in 10 years. I retired from the rally scene after the Dakar Rally in 2009, but I was able to maximize my years of rally experience.
“It was a very good day for us. But the road conditions were not ideal, as we started behind many other rally cars. The car was perfect and Pascal and I made no mistakes. We checked the temperature of all the components and everything was good. I was very impressed with the car and I know that we can drive much faster in the future.”
A Word from Yasuo Tanaka – Technical Director
“Going full force to attack the five-kilometer Super Special Stage (SSS1), we were able to put on a convincing display of the PHEV’s real potential with the smooth and torquey power of its motors and its superior handling from its low center of gravity.
“In the afternoon’s special stage (SS2) we had Hiroshi drive the Outlander PHEV more steadily instead and we constantly verified the load on the PHEV system during the run.
“The car ran so well today. I never thought about this car like that. It is better than I thought. This was the best day in our new project with this rally car so far - better than we have seen in the past. Tomorrow is a very long day with longer special stages. We have never experienced that before. We worry a little about that and hope that everything will be good.”