Over 3,500 kilometres of gruelling outback terrain will lie ahead of Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV rally car when the 2014 Australasian Safari races off from Perth on 19 September.
The specially prepared production class entry is the first of its kind in an Australian motorsport event. After winning the rugged Asia Cross Country Rally’s electric/hybrid class two years in a row, at an average 103 km/h, the Outlander PHEV is ready to tackle the worst Western Australia can throw at it.
Pilot Steve Glenney, widely regarded as Australia’s quickest, most versatile driver, said the Team Ralliart Australia crew is well prepared for the challenge of steering the world’s first plug-in hybrid SUV through some of the continent’s toughest, most remote country.
“This rally is notoriously challenging. Its long straight desert roads, dry creek bed crossings and rocky terrain means drivers and co-drivers must be physically and mentally ready for eight full days of competitive driving,” he said.
“We already know Mitsubishi’s proven four-wheel drive technology makes an ideal fit for rallying, but the real thrill for us is the unique experience of driving the Outlander PHEV in such an iconic event.”
Australian rally legend and former Lancer Evolution driver Ed Odynski, lending his support to Mitsubishi’s Safari team, is “impressed” by Mitsubishi’s intuitive plug-in hybrid EV technology. “The high torque characteristic of the electric motors and instant throttle response, so effective in everyday driving, are ideally suited to the demanding conditions Steve will experience during the Safari”.
The rally, dubbed Australia’s ‘Dakar’, runs north to Kalbarri, where it ends on 27 September.
The Outlander PHEV rally car is built to FIA motorsport competition standards. To help it withstand the punishing conditions, it has extra underbody and frontal protection, reinforced suspension arms and strut towers, competition brake pads, rally tyres and a roll over protection cage.