Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia recently had a successful run at the 2016 Bornep Safari 4X4 Challenge. Mitsubishi Malaysia’s fleet of fifth-generation Tritons were the star attraction of the 25th-edition 4X4 Rainforest challenge in the East Malaysian State of Sabah
The Mitsubishi Tritons sent out to the Borneo Safari were relatively un-modified. The primary mission for Team Mitsubishi was simple; to prove to sceptics that the Triton, as near stock condition as allowed by the event organizers, would be able to hold its own against the other participants’ heavily modified 4×4 monsters that led the field. The three mandated must-haves on the Tritons for the Borneo Safari comprised of a winch, a snorkel and a set of Extreme Terrain (XT) tyres. Mitsubishi M’sia fielded four new Tritons as corporate vehicles, including two units of the recently launched Triton 2.4 with MIVEC Turbo Diesel engine.
The Mitsubishi Tritons was driven by six press personnel and five Triton owners, including Drift sensation Leona Chin. All participants and vehicles from Team Mitsubishi Triton earned the respect of the Safari community by making it 400km through the jungle and to the finish line without any change of vehicle parts required throughout the entire 4×4 challenge program. “As the only female driver of Team Mitsubishi Triton, I was extremely proud to be entrusted by Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia, to champion the new Triton into the most gruelling off-road and 4×4 adventure! The new Triton managed to complete the Borneo Safari in one piece without any mechanical failure or breakdown. This itself is a testament to the strength, durability and endurance of the Mitsubishi Triton,” said Leona.
To put that achievement in its proper context, many other vehicles, including the highly upgraded ones, suffered from a large variety of mechanical issues and breakdowns, some of which necessitated going out to town to but new parts and returning to the jungle to repair the cars.
The terrain and weather conspired to serve up a “perfect storm” of challenges that had everyone raving about this year’s edition being the toughest, and hence, the best Borneo Safari yet. Conditions were so arduous that the scout team charged with blazing the trail reported making only 1.7km of progress from the start line in half a day. “There were frightening reports filtered through the radios, cars were overturning, descending slopes so steep and slippery that had to be lowered gingerly by a winch line from the vehicle behind, breakdowns and repairs,” said Albert John Banico, who drove a Triton Adventure into the Safari. “Though slipping and sliding, the Tritons took on each challenge and overcame each obstacle, one at a time. Co-drivers had to overcome gooey mud that was usually ankle-deep, and at times sucked in legs up to the knee.”
Every participating Triton was outfitted with the compulsory equipment such as winch, protection bars, recovery points, extreme tyres, suspension and snorkel. “As the days passed and time ran short, greater urgency pushed the convoy to keep going, even after sundown. Driving and winching and crossing rickety make-shift log bridges in the dark, with intermittent rain, with no end in sight,” said Arvinda Kumar, who entered as a participating media for Team Mitsubishi Triton. “There were also vehicles which were stuck on a narrow trail with no space on either side for setting up camp, everyone fell asleep where they sat in the cars as exhaustion overcame the discomfort of sitting upright while still muddy and grimy from the exertions of the previous day. Though the difficulties, this was a great experience and we are proud that the Triton managed to pass through this endurance test.”
After several gruelling 4×4 adventure days, the Tritons came out of the jungle in time for the Borneo Safari closing ceremony. Though the Triton managed through with some scratches and battle scars to show, there were no mechanical issues.