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Mitsubishi Ralliart driver, Scott Pedder, looks likely to spend the 2007 rally season on the sidelines as the factory outfit has still not had confirmation of a budget for this year from Mitsubishi Japan.

With less than six weeks to the start of the season, Mitsubishi Ralliart Australia are no closer to being given the go-ahead for this year’s Australian Rally Championship than they were before Christmas, a decision that is naturally frustrating Pedder.

“I’ve had six years in the ARC and was just starting to win on a fairly regular basis – now it looks like I’ll have to have a year off,” Pedder told RallySport Magazine today.

While he’d love to compete, Pedder says he hasn’t considered the possibility of running one of the Ralliart cars as a privateer.

“Definitely not!” he stressed. “It would probably cost around $250,000 to run the season, and that’s without the cost of the car or the tyres for each event. The tyres alone would probably cost $10,000 per event.”

It is believed Mitsubishi Japan wanted the Australian team to run primarily in factory colours this year, and as a result the Alan Heaphy-led team hadn’t chased any major corporate sponsorship for this year.

But when the factory in Japan hadn’t confirmed a budget by Christmas last year, it was then too late to try and chase the necessary corporate funding to successfully run the team this year.

Pedder says that if he’s not competing he’ll keep his ties with Alan Heaphy and see what other opportunities come up.

“I’ll probably go to the events and do the recce,” he added. “It’s important to keep a presence and keep talking to the right people.”

In 2006 Mitsubishi’s program wasn’t confirmed until the Melbourne Motor Show in March, and with this year’s show starting next week, Pedder says the team are still hoping for good news.

“The good part is that while we haven’t been testing like Toyota have, our car proved itself to be competitive in the second half of last year.

“I’m pretty confident that we could get told a week out from the first round that we are competing, and we’d still be able to go out and do a good job,” he added.

Photos: Mitsubishi

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