TOKYO, Japan – Mitsubishi Motors Corporation has conducted endurance tests of a new Triton rally bakkie on an off-road course in Thailand to confirm preparations for rallying which subjected the bakkie to loads greater than those expected in the rally.
The focus, The Corner was told, was on the reliability and durability of the chassis and engine on a 10km course that combined high-speed, rough gravel roads, and a narrow and winding forest track.
Hiroshi Masuoka, Team Mitsubishi Ralliart team director, said: “The Triton has a robust chassis and excellent handling so we minimally reduced the vehicle’s weight while leveraging its original strength.
“It also showed great performance throughout the tough endurance tests so, as expected, we can be confident that our preparation is on the right track.”
The AXCR, a gruelling, week-long, 2000km, cross-country race through unique natural terrain in south-east Asia and usually held annually in August, was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 because of COVID.
This year, Masuoka added, dates for the rally were pushed back to November 21-26 and the course reduced to 1700km beginning in Buriram in north-east Thailand before crossing into Cambodia and ending at the World Heritage site of Angkor Wat.
But more about the bakkie…
It’s classified as a Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) Group T1 rally car (prototype cross-country vehicle) based on the Thai double-cab. Its bonnet, all doors, cabin, and other parts were lightened on a shell strengthened by a roll-cage and belly armour.
The suspension was modified, the front and rear limited-slip differentials amended with large off-road tyres and alloy rims, “dramatically improving handling on rough roads”.
Tuning of the 2.4 turbodiesel engine focused on reducing friction, weight, and improving response through mid-speed ranges often used in rallies. There will be river crossings so water-proofing was better sealed and an air-intake snorkel fitted.
Jeffrey Allison, South African general manager at Mitsubishi Motors SA explained: “The Triton is ruggedly styled and can handle extreme rally environments. Its reliability and durability go with our adventurous lifestyle focus.”
Good luck, guys!
SOME SPECIFICATIONS… Overall length: 5.3m, width 1,815m, wheelbase 3.0mm; tyre treads (front and rear 1.52mm/1.515mm
ENGINE: 4N15 type four-cylinder MiVEC turbo-diesel; fuel-injector; high-pressure, common-rail, injection; displacement 2442cc; maximum power/torque 133kW/430Nm; transmission: six-speed manual to all-wheel drive.
FRONT: Independent double-wishbone with coil springs; REAR: Shock-absorbers each with adjustable dampers.
STEERING: Rack & pinion, power-assisted.
BRAKES: Front/rear ventilated discs with four-piston calipers
WHEELS: Aluminium alloy (17″x 8J) …all lightened by carbon-fibre bonnet and all door panels