Ralliart to build Mitsubishi Colt WRC?

Speculation continues to grow to the effect that a future Mitsubishi World Rally Car may not be based on the Lancer model. While Mitsubishi Ralliart Europe in Rugby, UK, is taking the initial steps towards developing a third version of the Lancer WRC, it is also evaluating the potential in the company's smaller 'Z-Car' floorpan. A new WRC could be based on the CZ, first seen as a concept car at the 2001 Tokyo Show, which is likely to carry 'Colt' branding

Ralliart to build Mitsubishi Colt WRC?

Mitsubishi management has been advised that the latest 'Step 2' Lancer WRC [Jul 29] is unlikely to beat the Peugeot 206 WRC. In addition, it is understood that DaimlerChrysler, which bought into Mitsubishi Motors in 2000, is concerned that the current World Rally Championship programme overly emphasises the Lancer name, diluting awareness of the Mitsubishi brand.

Mitsubishi's CZ3 Tarmac derivative of the concept exhibited in Tokyo is aimed at sporting drivers and, if put into production, would represent a bold move which could affect future sales of Lancer Evolutions. Using the same four-wheel-drive system as the Evo VII, with an 'active' central differential and yaw control, the CZ3 Tarmac is powered by a 1.5-litre engine with an intercooled turbocharger which is understood to provide drive via a constantly variable transmission.

An implication of Mitsubishi's recent agreement with the FIA over the introduction of the Lancer WRC is that it cannot revert to Group A. However, Toyota's precedent with the Corolla WRC means that a 2-litre turbocharged WRC derivative of the CZ3 would be feasible. The exact exterior dimensions of the CZ have not been released but, if it is shorter than 4m (the WRC minimum length), as Peugeot has demonstrated with the 206, there is still a way for it to be homologated as a World Rally Car.

Mitsubishi's 'Z-Car' floorpan is to be shared with DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes-Benz brand.

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