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R5 specification Mitsubishi claims first championship title

19th September 2016

Saturday 17th September marked an historic occasion for the R5 specification Mitsubishi Mirage/Space Star, when Robert Blomberg and co-driver Lars Andersson claimed the MSA British Rally Championship National Rally Cup title. 

Their second place on the Rally Isle of Man – the seventh and final round of the British Rally Championship – secured victory in the category they had led since the middle of the season.  

Before this year, Blomberg and Andersson had entered very few events outside of their native Sweden, but having purchased an R5 specification Mitsubishi from Mpart at the end of 2015, they felt inspired to try something that would best suit the car’s capabilities and challenge them beyond their more familiar environment. With the British Rally Championship re-launched for 2016 and incorporating a National category, the season’s seven events that comprised a mixture of gravel and asphalt events provided the perfect opportunity.  

The season started well, with a second place on the Mid Wales Stages in March, the snowy conditions on the Welsh mountains resembling scenes usually found in their home country at that time of year.   

In April, Blomberg and Andersson got thier first taste of Irish tarmac with the Circuit of Ireland, where a spin off the road meant they had to re-start under SuperRally regulations. But even with the subsequent penalties applied, they were still able to finish fourth.   

Two demanding gravel events followed: the Kielder Forest based Pirelli Rally in May and the Scottish Rally on equally arduous stages in June. Another second place on the Pirelli Rally was followed by the team’s fist win in Scotland. With Blomberg and Andersson playing thier joker, they scored double pointsand consequently, took a commanding lead in the National Rally Cup. 

 July hosted the Nicky Grist Stages, which brought with it yet another challenge.  It was another event held in Wales, but this time there were gravel stages on day one followed by asphalt stages on day two. With rain storms appearing all weekend, it was another character building event for the team and their efforts were rewarded with another win.   

Round six saw a return to Ireland for the Ulster Rally in August, where the team recorded its third win in a row. this hat trick of victories meant they now had to finish fourth or higher on the final round on the Isle of Man.   

Having never been to the island before, the event was to provide yet another new challenge for Blomberg and Andersson, but after a tentative start on the three stages on Thursday evening, they settled into a rhythm and completed Friday’s 11 stages and Saturday’s six with out any issues whatsoever.  At the finish, a delighted Blomberg said:  

“This has been a fantastic year and I’m absolutely delighted to have won the National Rally Cup.  We couldn’t have done it without the reliability of the Mitsubishi. It’s run like clockwork. In fact, we are the only crew that has finished and scored on all of the season's seven rounds.   

“The car has been so enjoyable to drive – whatever the surface - and it’s easily dealt with all the challenges we threw at it. This year, I’ve been fortunate to have competed on some of the best events and over the best stages you’ll find anywhere. It’s been a great all-round experience.”  

Of the seven rounds in the British Rally Championship National Rally Cup, four were won by an R5 specification Mitsubishi, with the car occupying first and second places on two of the events. Other drivers have included WRC junior driver Osian Pryce and Jamie Jukes of Spencer Sport, the official UK and Ireland distributors for the Mitsubishi.


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