There’s still no confirmation from MRF as to whether it will enter the APRC this year. But one thing we do know is that at least one of the ‘red’ cars used in 2008 will not appear in the series.
Simon Evans, the two-time Australian rally champion and former Toyota factory driver, has announced he’ll contest the Australian championship in the Mitsubishi Evo IV previously piloted by by Scott Pedder and Jussi Valimaki. The car, which was prepared for MRF by Race Torque Engineering, will be used by Evans at next weeks Rally of Canberra under the ‘Simons Builders’ banner with Race Torque providing support for the new privateer team.
Meanwhile, Race Torque has begun preparation of the new Lancer Evo X in their Perth workshops. Under normal circumstances you’d expect that car to be ear-marked for Katsu Taguchi, however it seems doubtful it will be used in the championship.
As previously reported, MRF chief Anthony Rodricks is openly pessimistic about the chances of the Indian team running more than one car this year. The support of Mitsubishi Japan was critical to the viability of the team, with Rodricks stating, “…we might opt for a one-car team, but certainly not three cars like in the past two years. If it is just one car, then most likely Gaurav Gill will drive”.
The opinion of series insiders is that MRF is unlikely to run in 2009, potentially leaving Taguchi and Scott Pedder without APRC drives and propelling Cusco into the spotlight as the leading Mitsubishi team in the championship.