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Tougher than it looks: the Mirage

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THE MIRAGE Gymkhana Precision Driving Competition made a strong statement and showed the kind of stuff the Mirage is made of.

For auto manufacturers wanting to prove their new car’s mettle, enlisting it in a motorsport event would be one clever move. But there’s also another way, one that is less expensive, which is to invite several motoring journalists as well as loyal clients to put the car through its paces.

This was what exactly Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. (MMPC) recently did to showcase its newly launched Mirage, a surprisingly capable subcompact hatch.

“Reliability is so important to motorists, especially when times are tough. The Mirage might be small and cute but don’t underestimate it. This is one tiny car that is tough as nails, as proven by the three races we put it through,” said Arlan Reyes, MMPC’s advertising and promotions manager.

The Mirage made an impressive showing during the three races as the subcompact hatch weathered all conditions and soldiered on without any complaints from its tough and unrelenting participant drivers.

Toughest

The third and final leg held at the parking lot of SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City last Saturday proved to be the toughest as the race venue was drenched due to the heavy rains brought by Tropical storm “Maring.”

WINNING teams of the Media division are shown with MMPC vice president for Marketing Services Froy Dytianquin (extreme left) and MMPC advertising and promotions manager (partly hidden, sixth from left).

The drivers not only had to deal with flooded and slippery tracks—because of a modified race course design—they also had to remember when and where to perform the slaloms, reversals in parking boxes, 360-degree spins, and other advanced skills.

Other not-so-lucky participants also had to contend with sudden and heavy showers that obscured visibility.

Indeed, each leg was unique with regard to course design and rules. While the first leg, which was held last June 29 also in Pasay City’s SM Mall of Asia, offered a maze-like track that tested one’s dexterity and ability to remember the twists and sharp turns, the second leg held last July 20 at the parking lot of Robinson’s Nova Market in Novaliches, Quezon City offered long straights that allowed faster acceleration. The drivers also put to the limit the Mirage’s tires as well as its brakes (Though the organizers had to do a tire swap late in the afternoon as well as momentarily rest the two Mirage vehicles, it was meant to cool the car’s overworked front disc brakes).

Remarkable

DYTIANQUIN (extreme left) and Reyes (extreme right) flank the winning teams of the race’s Club/Fleet division. Photos by Charles E. Buban

“What is more remarkable is the fact that except for the Hotpipes and K&N Filters as well as Nitto Neo Gen tires that we installed, the two cars were mostly stock. We just want to prove that the Mirage is one of the most exhilarating small cars you can buy,” said Reyes.

Just ask the six winning teams of the three-leg event that claimed not only bragging rights for precision driving but also took home cash prizes. Team Club Mitsu A, which topped the Club/Fleet division after earning an impressive 93 points, and Team Auto Industria, winner of the Media Division after earning 64 points, received P100,000 each.

Team MyMitsu tallied 65 points, while Team STV team had 60 points. They both took home P50,000 after placing second in the Club/Fleet and Media divisions, respectively. Third placer Team Club Mitsu B, with 57 points, won the Club/Fleet division, while Team Top Gear B with 49 points, also finished third for the Media division. Both teams received P25,000.

Not a bad cash haul for repeatedly punishing a battle-ready Mirage.

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