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Mitsubishi Ralliart Australia boss, Alan Heaphy, says that he is still no closer to being able to announce plans for the team’s 2007 season, despite Christmas fast approaching.

Heaphy says that discussions between Mitsubishi Australia and Mitsubishi Japan are still going on, and he was unsure when an official announcement would be made.

It is expected that Mitsubishi will run a two-car team in next year’s Australian Rally Championship, with current driver Scott Pedder being joined in the team by another ‘name’ driver.

Those who have already been linked to the Mitsubishi drive include Cody Crocker, Dean Herridge, Alister McRae, Steve Glenney and Will Orders – with Crocker believed to be at the head of the pack.

But Heaphy would not be drawn on the debate, saying nobody was yet on his “shopping list”.

“There are a number of good drivers out there who have contacted us to tell us that they are available, but until we know what is happening next year and what our budget is, we can’t make any decions,” he said.

“Obviously guys like Cody Crocker and Alister McRae would be great in the team, but the more international experience a driver has, the more he wants to be paid, so it’s not as easy as picking the best driver for the role,” he added.

Heaphy said that drivers with a lesser profile, like Will Orders, have plenty of talent and could prosper at a team such as Mitsubishi, but stressed that any decision on a second driver was some way down the track.

“All I can say is that the decision won’t be made 10 days before the first event – we’ll need to get things in place well before then.”

Ralliart are currently building a second gravel spec car at their Melbourne workshops, after which they’ll effectively have three cars to choose from – the new car, Pedder’s current Lancer Evo 9, and the tarmac car driven this year by Warwick Rooklyn.

“Warwick’s car could be converted to gravel spec in half a day, so there’s not a problem there,” Heaphy said.
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