Mitsubishi Motors announced this week that Team Ralliart would compete in the August 2023 Asia Cross Country Rally. The team claimed an overall victory at last year's event and will again be helmed by Hiroshi Masuoka, a former two-time consecutive Dakar Rally champion driver. Also returning are drivers Chayapon Yotha of Thailand and Rifat Sungkar of Indonesia, who will be joined by Katsuhiko Taguchi of Japan.
This year, the Ralliart team will attempt to claim a second win while driving the new Mitsubishi Triton Group T1 prototype cross-country vehicles. The all-new trucks are completely redesigned, including the body, frame, chassis, and engine. The reliability and durability of the vehicles were confirmed during a grueling endurance test and by making adjustments in preparation for the actual competition.
Gallery: 2024 Mitsubishi Ralliart L200
"Based on the original strength of the all-new Triton, the handling performance,
stability on rough roads, and ride comfort are further improved as a rally competition
car," said Masuoka. "We have conducted the endurance test with a harder course setting than the actual rally conditions, confirming performance beyond our expectations and giving us a great confidence for our second consecutive championship."
The Asia Cross Country Rally 2023 will begin with a ceremonial start on Sunday, August 13, in Pattaya, Thailand. The rally officially begins the following day, with vehicles racing east, roughly parallel with the Cambodian border, entering Laos on Thursday the 17th and reaching the finish line on Saturday the 19th. Over the course of the rally, drivers cover roughly 2,000 km or 1,242 miles, including over 1,000 km of special stage events.
This year's course also has a great variety of terrain, including mountainous areas, thick forests, muddy roads, and river crossings. The difficult course is expected to test the road handling and durability of the rally cars. Adding to the challenge, the event will be held in August, Thailand's typical rainy season and the muddy conditions are expected to be even more severe than last year.
The 2024 Mitsubishi Triton L200 will debut on July 26 in Thailand ahead of the Asia Cross Country Rally. Prototypes were spotted last year while testing in the US, leading to speculation that the vehicle could return as the next-generation Dodge Dakota or be added to Mitsubishi's lineup.