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Mitsubishi quit Dakar Rally to reduce costs

MITSUBISHI will pull out of cross country rallying, including the Dakar Rally, which the Japanese team has dominated in recent years.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp said that today's announcement was a cost-cutting measure caused by the global economic downturn.

They are the latest Japanese automakers to scale back their motorsport activities following Honda's shock exit from Formula One in December.

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

Mitsubishi won the storied Dakar Rally 12 times in 26 appearances, including record seven consecutive victories from 2001 to 2007.

They took part in this year's Dakar Rally, switched to Argentina and Chile because of security fears in Mauritania which forced the cancellation of last year's event.

Honda, which has forecast a 190 billion yen operating loss for the fiscal second half ending in March, withdrew from Formula One to reduce costs amid a slump in global car sales.

Their departure from F1 was quickly followed by the withdrawal of rival carmakers Subaru and Suzuki from the world rally championship.

Japanese motorcycle maker Kawasaki also followed suit last month by pulling out of motorcycling's MotoGP championship.


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