The technical director of the stuttering Mitsubishi world rally team claims the 2005-spec Lancer WRC will be quicker by up to two seconds a kilometre thanks to its new semi-automatic transmission.

The technical director of the stuttering Mitsubishi world rally team claims the 2005-spec Lancer WRC will be quicker by up to two seconds a kilometre thanks to its new semi-automatic transmission.


The Japanese squad, which saw its 2004-season cut short due to the financial problems that dogged Mitsubishi Motor in Japan, has committed itself to participating in each round of the 2005 World Rally Championship.


Mitsubishi is the last of the WRC works teams to adopt a semi-automatic transmission and the squad's technical director, Mario Fornaris said the addition would allow the team to make a significant leap forward in performance this year.


Fornaris re-designed the Lancer WRC to take advantage of new rules that allow increased width for longer cars. The concession - which has also been utilised by Subaru and Peugeot - should improve the Lancer's handling. In addition, Mitsubishi has also revised the rally car's suspension and active differentials and transmission are likely to appear mid-season, a report said.


"A semi-automatic gearchange gives you such an advantage in terms of how fast it changes and the reliability of the changes," Fornaris said. "We estimate that for a standard mechanical gearchange it takes more than one tenth of a second. When you start to change gear with the help of hydraulics, we estimate it takes half the time. Also, because the change is so quick, the risk of breaking any of the dog rings that engage the gear is reduced."


"Things are completely different to how they were at the start of last season," Fornaris added. "When we started 2004, we had only done 80km of testing because reliability problems impeded our development programme. But, with this season's car, we've already done about 1 200 km. This is a very different situation."

Original article from Car