Joey@WORKS On Friday, April 23, 2010

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WORKS Rally will making their debut this year in the third round of the 2010 season with intent to successfully test a first-of-its-kind vehicle for the Rally America series, yielding nothing less than a podium finish.

Last year at the Olympus Rally, driver Lars Wolfe and Michel Hoche-Mong entered the WORKS Rally Evo IX in the Super Production class. It was WORKS’s debut for a national rally event. Company owner and founder Peter Kang had always been a rally enthusiast. “One of the main reasons I started WORKS was my passion for Rallying. Mitsubishi has always maintained a strong tradition in the sport and I wanted to help bring that to the US market.” And the team was in good hands. Lars Wolfe’s training began seven years ago at the Team O’Neil Rally School. Positioned as the driver and mechanic he had a strong history with racing Volkswagens, driving a 2000 Jetta 4Motion to a class victory at the NASA 6 Hours of Thunderhill in December 2008.

Last year at the Olympus Rally in 2009, Lars Wolfe and Michel Hoche-Mong were gaining momentum with each passing stage. Starting Stage 6 they were 2nd in class, 7th overall. This was a huge milestone for a company making a debut in a sport with less than eight employees. By the end of the day they stood 7th in class. Day 2 began with optimism as WORKS Rally moved up two places crossing the line at Stage 10 with only six more to go. They started Stage 15, but another vehicle was claimed by the infamous Brooklyn West. The car caught the inside edge of a turn and went into a sensational roll. But this was not to be the end of WORKS Rally.

They were back on their feet with a 2009 Lancer Ralliart in November. This time, WORKS will be setting the bar again in the Mitsubishi community. When given the choice to build a new car for this year’s Rally America series it was decided to go with a Lancer Ralliart, not an Evolution. With proper preparation, Mitsubishi’s new TC-SST twin-clutch transmission made by Getrag was seen by Lars Wolfe to be a competitive advantage. With the help of South Side Performance transmission upgrades, we set off for the 25 Hours of Thunderhill to see where the car stood against the competition. It was the first attempt anyone had made to run the SST transmission for this long. It held at full power for almost 6 hours of continuous racing until we encountered engine overheating issues and the plug was pulled.

The bar is still set high for WORKS Rally. This is an experimental car’s maiden voyage onto the dirt. Lars Wolfe has spent his time in the trenches, following the steps to perfecting the mechanical tuning of the car and his skills as a driver. The team plans on attending many more events this season and is planning to secure a spot on the podium.