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AXCR 2023: Chayapon Yotha claims 3rd place overall

AXCR 2023: Chayapon Yotha claims 3rd place overall

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After the final day of the 2023 AXCR, Chayapon Yotha claims 3rd place overall and all three MITSUBISHI TRITONs complete the rally

LEG 6, the 6th and final day of competition in the 2023 Asia Cross Country Rally (AXCR) took place on Saturday 19 August, and Chayapon Yotha (Thailand) / Peerapong Sombutwong (Thailand) in #101 TRITON finished the rally in 3rd overall. WIth Katsuhiko Taguchi (Japan) / Takahiro Yasui (Japan) in Car 112 also completing the rally in 8th and Rifat Sungkar (Indonesia) / Chupong Chaiwan (Thailand) in Car 106 in 32nd overall, Team MITSUBISHI RALLIART received the Team Award.

The total distance of Selective Section (SS) 6 was 51.96km. The first part of the route was the same as the second part of SS4, but towards the end, the competitors drove a new route. It was significantly shorter than the previous SSs, but the degree of difficulty remained the same, with high-speed sections and travel through villages along the way. Local children waved the Lao flag and cheered on the participants near the finish.

Yotha completed this final SS in 7th with careful driving, prioritising staying in 3rd overall. In doing so, he successfully brought the all-new TRITON its first podium finish. Taguchi caught up with a competitor in front early in SS6 but was unable to overtake and finished behind them. The Japanese driver set the 5th fastest time in SS6. He finished the rally in 8th place overall after moving up one place when one of the top runners stopped. Looking back at his first cross-country rally, Taguchi commented, “I had no problems with driving the car and driving on roads without pace notes when I actually drove in the rally. The all-new TRITON is very robust and easy to drive with good handling.” After showing speed and taking the fastest time in SS5, Sungkar adjusted his pace for the day to complete the rally. He took no risks and finished the SS in 22nd to conclude the rally in 32nd overall.

At the ceremonial finish held at Prasat Wat Phu, a World Heritage site of a ruined temple, all participants who had completed the rally passed through the gate and shared their joy. Team Mitsubishi Ralliart won the Team Award, which is contested between teams that entered two or more vehicles and all completed the race, with the combined time of the top two vehicles of each team. They proved the car's robustness and reliability in this challenging rally. The team will thoroughly analyse the data obtained from this rally and use it for future development.

Comments from Chayapon Yotha, driver of Car 101: "Overall, road surface conditions were very tough this year. Even so, we managed to complete all the SSs, and thanks to the team, we were able to help each other and cross the finish line. Of course we wanted to be higher up, and we wanted to get back to our best position - a win in the rally and to get the trophy. Needless to say, the overall performance and drivability of the TRITON has improved compared with last year. My impression is that it has improved comprehensively including the engine, suspension and frame. Next year I hope to be stronger and try again."

Comments from Team MITSUBISHI RALLIART team director Hiroshi Masuoka: "It's been a tougher fight than we imagined this year. We struggled in some parts, especially in the first half, on the intricate and complicated course. We gradually picked up the pace in the second half of the rally and Chayapon (Yotha) was able to improve his position, eventually finishing 3rd overall. Of course I'm disappointed, but the results will certainly be a benefit for our future and we've collected a lot of data. I'm really grateful to the team members who prepared for the rally in such a short time. In addition, as all three of the all-new TRITONs completed this tough rally, I felt once again how good the durability and handling of the car is. It is a level of perfection that we can confidently recommend to everyone as a car launched globally. We would like to thank all the sponsors of our team and the many people who have supported and cheered us on. We hope to use this experience in the future and make further progress."

Source Mitsubishi Motors

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