What?! ARRGH! In the words of Charlie Brown, ARRGH!
Mitsubishi recently announced that they have decided to pull the plug on their factory operations racing in the Dakar Rally as well as all other cross-country rally events. You know, the usual (for this period) reasons: economic downturn etc etc etc. Still, this is a blow.
Mitsubishi has run, and done very, very well in the Dakar rally on twenty-six occasions, winning a total of twelve times, including seven consecutive victories. So for them to drop out of the Dakar is sort of like the Yankees dropping out of baseball.
Then again …
Then again, look at it from Mitsubishi\’s (possible) perspective: What else do they have to prove? They\’ve essentially crushed all comers in the Dakar (no small feet right there), and are currently viewed as THE team to beat, so why carry on?
They are, in a lot of ways, the exact opposite of someone like Honda\’s (now shuttered) Formula One effort. Honda, as you may recall decided to ditch F1, they said, because of the bad economic climate, but really it was because they were tired of spending hundreds of millions of dollars to end up at the back of the grid time and time again, fighting like hell to pass cars like Force India, let alone getting thumped by the Red Bull junior team.
Mitsubishi is the opposite of that in Dakar/ Cross-Country Rallies. They\’re at the top, and have been at the top for quite some time, so why not pull a Mary Tyler Moore and leave now?
Why indeed … the series (such as it is) will miss their presence to be sure, and it will also put a lot of crews onto the market, but this can also be seen as good news for all the other competitors out there.
VW, who has been doing great things with their race Touaregs but just can\’t seem to catch a break in the luck department, must be pretty happy with Mitsu\’s announcement. Maybe Carlo Sainz can finally get a good bounce and add a Dakar trophy to his already overburdened mantelpiece.