Mitsubishi R5 logo
Home News About Eligibility Technical Sales Contact



Success in Malaysia for R5 Specification Mitsubishi

31st October 2016

The Mpart team achieved what has been hailed as a ‘momentous result’ this weekend, when Jari Ketomaa and Mikko Lukka finished an impressive second overall in the Malaysian Rally driving an R5 specification Mitsubishi Mirage. The result was made even more rewarding taking into account the extreme conditions the car and crew had to endure during the two-day, 14-stage, 234 kilometre event.

Starting and finishing in the city of Johor, the fifth round of the 2016 Asia Pacific Rally Championship took place on 29th & 30th October over roads within the region’s Tai Tak oil palm plantations. Pre-event testing and shakedown last week showed up issues that were likely to be encountered on the rally: the searing temperatures that went into the high 30s and humidity of around 90% creating a series of challenges that the team had to overcome.

After adjusting the car’s ALS (anti-lag system) and turbo boost in order to keep things in the engine department as cool as possible, things started extremely well for the team. In fact, after the first stage Ketomaa and Lukka were lying third overall behind the Skoda R5s of previous Malaysian Rally winner and 2014 APRC Champion Gaurav Gill in first place and experienced German driver Fabian Kriem in second.

However, conditions were far more demanding than anyone could have imagined, with Ketomaa - a former Finnish Champion and WRC regular who has 1000s of rally miles under his belt – describing the event as the toughest he has ever encountered:

“There is nothing you can do to prepare for this rally. The heat and humidity makes it both physically and mentally demanding. One of the stages had over 150 tight corners in it. There was so much input required that I didn’t think we could make it to the end of the stage. I was absolutely exhausted. In all my years of rallying this is by far the toughest event I have ever done.”

Adding to the level of difficulty were the roads. They were far more slippery and rougher than they looked, plus most were narrow with a high centre ridge anmd ruts either side. Consequently, there was very little opportunity to move the car around – as there would normally be on a gravel event - to assist flow through the corners and therefore, the stages demanded supreme concentration and precision.

But besides all these challenges, the Mitsubishi was running perfectly and, when Kriem retired on stage six, Ketomaa and Lukka moved up a place and ended the first day after eight stages in second. With over three minutes separating first-to-second and second-to-third places, the Mpart team’s strategy for day two’s six stages was one of consolidation.

Whilst this sounded like a straightforward plan, the unpredictability of the event meant nothing could be taken for granted. In fact, the overnight rain had done little to help the conditions and whilst the roads that were exposed to the sun dried out, the majority of the sections under the trees remained wet and subsequently even more treacherous.

But the team were determined and, putting the experience of the first day behind them, a supreme effort by Ketomaa and Lukka in the car and the supporting crew outside it, saw the Mitsubishi drive triumphantly onto the finish ramp in Johor after two days of the toughest competition that’s likely to be found anywhere in the world.

"It is absolutely fantastic to get to the end of this event. It's been a massive challenge, not only for Mikko and I, but for the whole Mpart team. The car never faltered once, which is amazing considering what it has gone through. It is a testament to its strength and quality of engineering.

“It is a huge achievement to have come here and claim a second place on our first visit. The team should be extremely proud of what they have done and it's great to have been part of this success."

Team owner and chief engineer Tomas Weng added:
"We have achieved everything we set out to do and more with this result. People have been coming up to congratulate us, not only for finishing second, but for getting to the end of this incredibly tough rally on our first ever visit here. They say it’s an almost impossible achievement.

“It's been a fantastic experience. We have learnt so much about rallying in this part of the world and the capabilities of the Mitsubishi in these conditions. The car has run fantastically well and there were only heat-related issues that can be overcome if we chose to do this event again.

“I really must thank the Asia Pacific Rally Championship organisers for their cooperation and encouragement. This has enabled our car to run directly against the homologated cars. I am therefore confident that we will see a Mirage running again in this region in the near future."


Click images to enlarge

Photos courtesy: Arish Qutb Ahmad Khan