Hidden deep beneath a bunch of numbers reporting its unconsolidated financial position came words many Mitsubishi fans feared they may never hear again.
Page 25 of Mitsubishi’s Financial Results document, revealed in Tokyo on Tuesday, delivered five words. “Revival of the Ralliart brand.”
Understandably for a heavyweight financial document, detail on the return for a company that once ruled both the World Rally Championship and the world’s most arduous marathon event in Dakar, was light.
Mitsubishi CEO Takao Kato reinforced that message when adding some explanation for page 25. He said: “For customers who wish to experience our Mitsubishi-ness, we will launch custom-made accessories for our model line-up as well as re-entering motorsport events around the world.”
A timeline for the Mitsubishi-ness silhouetted an SUV arriving after 2023. There’s been immediate speculation that the illustration hints at a return to Dakar, but an SUV-based Rally1 car is entirely possible with the arrival of next year’s all-new bodyshell scaling regulations.
Recognised as Mitsubishi’s performance arm, Ralliart enjoyed its most successful period under the direction of Andrew Cowan. The Scotsman’s Rugby-based Ralliart Europe concern won five world championship titles in four years with Tommi Mäkinen, including Mitsubishi’s one and only manufacturers’ title in 1998.
Mitsubishi then took its motorsport effort more in-house with the formation of Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sport. It was that German-based outfit which delivered the Japanese firm’s final WRC challenger, the Lancer WRC05.
Mitsubishi withdrew from the WRC at the end of 2005 and MMSP was sold four years later.