After opting to sit out the 2003 WRC season to focus on its 2004 campaign, Mitsubishi has decided to not compete in the last six rallies of the year so that the team can prepare for 2005.

After opting to sit out the 2003 WRC season to focus on its 2004 campaign, Mitsubishi has decided to not compete in the last six rallies of the year so that the team can prepare for 2005.


The struggling Japanese team's last appearance of the year will be at Rallye Deutschland from August 20 to 22. Mitsubishi will use one or two selected European rallies as an intensive test and development platform for the Lancer WRC and the manufacturer's long-term programme for the WRC (until 2006) is still on track.


"We started this season with a three-year plan. The first year with the new car back in the WRC was mainly focused to develop our new Lancer WRC. To pull out from the whole championship for the rest of the season gives us the possibility to further develop our car," Sven Quandt, the president of MMSP GmbH, Mitsubishi Motors' motorsport company, said.


Mitsubishi Motors' head of products operations, Akira Kijima added: "Our commitment to motorsport will continue, but we have to consider how best to optimise our resources and find our way back to the success we have had in previous years. This is not easy with such an intense world rally programme, so the only way to find time for this is to temporarily reduce our programme."


Mitsubishi has been on the international rally scene since 1967, winning the WRC series in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999 with Tommi Makinen, as well as the manufacturers' title in 1998.