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Mitsubishi's Dakar shocker

2009-02-04 08:16

World motorsports took another blow from the global economic crisis Wednesday as Mitsubishi Motors announced it would withdraw from the Dakar Rally.

"The sudden deterioration of the global economy made it necessary for the company to focus its resources more tightly," it said in a
statement.

The company said it would withdraw from all Cross Country Rallying.

The Japanese team has won the rally a total of 12 times, including seven consecutive victories until the 2009 race.

But it endured a nightmare trip in January to South America, where the world's most gruelling desert raid was shifted after the killing of
four French tourists in Mauritania caused the cancellation of the 2008 event.

Defending champion Stephane Peterhansel and his Mitsubishi teammates all pulled out in the first week as their new diesel-powered Lancers failed to match the pace of Volkswagen.

Other Japanese makers have also been scaling down their motorsports activities to cope with the auto industry crisis.

Honda announced its shock exit from Formula One last month while Suzuki and Subaru withdrew from the world rally championship.

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