Mitsubishi Motors Tackles WesBank SA Fuel Economy Tour

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  • Four teams
  • Four models
  • Five days

Mitsubishi Motors South Africa has entered no less than four vehicles for the inaugural WesBank Fuel Economy Tour which takes place from 12 to 16 November through five provinces – from Johannesburg in Gauteng to Cape Town in the Western Cape via Durban in KwaZulu-Natal and East London, Port Elizabeth and George in the Eastern Cape.

The total combined distance that the four different Mitsubishi models will cover, comes to a whopping 2 500 km – long enough to prove their fuel economy beyond any doubt.

“All our models are known for their superb quality, brilliant value for money and outstanding fuel economy,” says Nic Campbell, General Manager of Mitsubishi Motors South Africa.

“Any vehicle can be driven to the extreme in many ways on and off the road, and to stretch its reach to the extreme takes a few basic principles,” explains Campbell.

These include:
  • Maintaining your Mitsubishi vehicle by regularly having it serviced at any of Mitsubishi Motors’ 54 dealerships all over South Africa (including Namibia, Botswana and Lesotho) at its predetermined service intervals,
  • Ensuring good tyre care by maintaining proper tyre pressure and regularly inspecting the rubber for damage and wear & tear,
  • Driving defensively and planning your trip to avoid urban traffic congestion or heavy traffic on the open road, and
  • By accelerating gently while keeping to the speed limit or designated speed in varying conditions.

The teams taking their respective Mitsubishi models from Gauteng to the coast all the way to Cape Town, include:

1. Driver Gerhard Schutte and navigator Buks Carolyn, Mitsubishi Triton 4×2 M/T:

Both Gerhard and Buks have a strong dirt racing history spanning three decades.

Gerhard, from Pretoria, is an experienced rally driver and has participated in 15 economy runs with various class wins for a variety of manufacturers. He took part as navigator for Hennie de Klerk in the 2018 Dakar Rally in South America where they won the Rookie Award. He is an active competitor in the 2019 South African Cross Country Series (SACCS).

Buks made his mark in off-road racing in the early 90s and has multiple driver’s and navigator’s championships to his name. He is also a South African Springbok Cross Country racer and the very first South African to tackle the original Paris Dakar Rally back in 1998.

2. Driver Cobus Grobbelaar and navigator Robert Thompson, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport 4×2 A/T:

Cobus was a technician and got to know how everything worked before moving behind the wheel. After years of working on circuit racing and rally cars across all categories, he moved to compete in rallies – first regularity events similar to the WesBank SA Fuel Economy Tour, and later to special-stage events, winning various provincial rally championships. Cobus is somewhat of an economy specialist with 15 national events to his credit.

Robert was born into a motoring family and managed various dealerships and a filling and service station. His long motorsport career includes special stage rallies and regularity trial events as well as a few economy runs.

3. Driver Johan Bekker and navigator Carl Jansen van Vuuren, Mitsubishi ASX M/T:

Johan has an Extreme 4×4 Challenge background where he won the SA National 4×4 Challenge Navigator’s Championship in 2011, but also has experience in racing, winning the 2016 and 2017 Bridgestone Series.

Carl, an electronics specialist with a long history of building, preparing and racing rally cars in the Northern Regions Rally Championship, took to the Extreme 4×4 Challenge as driver and navigator in the new millennium, took part and won his class in national economy events in 2011 and 2012, bringing vast experience to the team. This time around Carl will be responsible for the navigation.

4. Husband and wife Schalk (driver) and Susan (navigator) van Niekerk, Eclipse Cross 4×2 CVT:

Schalk, the owner of Dyno Logic Repairs Workshop specialising in dyno tuning and general service and repairs, competed in various forms of motorsport over a number of years together with his wife, Susan, including various previous national Economy Runs.

Susan, employed by PwC Auditors in an administrative position, competed in many previous Economy Runs as well as special stage rallying. Currently, she navigates for husband Schalk in Class A of the South African Regularity Series, which they have won several times.

The vehicles:
Mitsubishi Triton 4×2 M/T:

The Triton is as tough as it gets and engineered beyond tough, offering a bold new design, a spacious cabin and a stylish interior. Powered by Mitsubishi Motors’ proven and super-responsive 2.4-litre DOHC MIVEC 16-valve common-rail intercooled turbodiesel, the Triton 4×2 uses a 6-speed manual transmission driving the rear wheels.

Mitsubishi Pajero Sport 4×2 A/T:

The two-wheel-drive version of Mitsubishi Motors’ popular SUV is powered by the same 2.4-litre DOHC Intercooled Turbocharged engine, coupled to an 8-speed automatic transmission driving the rear wheels. The Pajero Sport 4×2 won’t have any problems covering the distance between any of the cities on its 2 500 km WesBank SA Fuel Economy Tour thanks to its 68-litre fuel tank and less than 8 litres/100 km fuel economy – a point to be proven beyond doubt in the four-day event.

Mitsubishi ASX 4×2 M/T:

Mitsubishi Motors’ Active Smart Crossover combines the benefits of a compact SUV – spacious interior, roomy boot and extra height – with the ease of driving and fuel efficiency of a smaller car. Driven by the tried and tested 2.0-litre MIVEC DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder multi-point fuel injection petrol engine, the ASX 4×2 uses a 5-speed manual transmission capable of beating the manufacturer’s economy expectations of 7.5 litres per 100 km.

Eclipse Cross 4×2 CVT:

Mitsubishi Motors’ latest addition to its South African stable, the striking all-new Eclipse Cross, brings the compact SUV into the modern age. Powered by the same 2.0-litre petrol engine as the ASX, the Eclipse Cross CVT uses a continuous variable transmission with a 6-step Sports Mode, offering uncompromising driving effort and outstanding fuel economy.

“The main objective of the WesBank SA Fuel Economy Tour is to provide customers and fleet buyers with realistic fuel consumption figures obtained on a road trip on main roads in South Africa, using a variety of vehicles,” says Charl Wilken, chief organiser of the event.

The Fuel Economy Tour starts on Tuesday 12 November when the cars will set off from the WesBank head office in Fairland, Johannesburg, finishing in Durban later the same day.

The second day takes the competing vehicles to East London on Wednesday 13 September, then Port Elizabeth on 14 September and George on 15 September before finishing in Cape Town on Saturday 16 September after a total combined distance of 2 500 km.

Mitsubishi Motors’ supporters can follow the event on our Twitter or Facebook channels and track the teams from Johannesburg to Cape Town from 12 to 16 November.