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Roncar’s 2006 Evo IX RS is a street legal homologation special meant for all seasons.

2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX RS

Ron Zaras—aka Roncar as he’s colloquially known—might have one of the most enviable, or one of the most grueling jobs depending on your point of view. As digital media manager for Hoonigan Racing Division and Ken Block—arguably one of the most famous names in the YouTube era—Ron’s schedule is tight to put it lightly, and fortunately for him he gets to travel quite a bit. Being a rally nerd helps, too, because with the rigorous demands of being involved with WRC, GRC, Gymkhana and the host of other events that Ken participates in, Ron has seen his fair share of iconic rallys and the cars that conquer them. His 2006 Mitsubishi Evolution IX RS is inspired by rally but Ron leaves the livery in the dust, as his clean approach to the build is apparent in every rally car ever produced.


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Scandinavian Switch


When the Lancer Evolution RS and MR were released to the Japanese market, they were the first steel monocoque-bodied production cars with an aluminum roof panel—evolutionary type stuff while shedding 8.8 pounds in the process. So when the homologation special RSs were released, losing 80 pounds over the SE and MR—all with the same 286 horsepower 2-liter DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder intercooled turbo 4G63 engine—diehard rally fans had a bird for their song. Remember, this is a car that comes with no power doors, windows, ABS, and even an optional air conditioning delete.


For Ron, making a streetcar with equal parts confidence on tarmac, gravel, and snow started with what he had learned from his previous Subaru STi build, which had started to become more racecar than road car. And with an obviously hectic schedule, making time to fully exploit the car’s potential with recreational racing became increasingly difficult.


“The main reason [for the switch] was that the Subaru was a super custom build: swapped motor, differentials, etc. and there’s a lot of upkeep with a car like that,” Ron says. “It’s a funny story because a friend got this car [Evo IX] when we first starting racing together so I’ve known of this car since it had 10 miles on it.” Ron continues, “He was moving out of the country and I saw the car on eBay and recognized the username and I was like “Dude, I would love to buy that car!”



Having an affinity with the Evolution since the days of Initial D and Best Motoring, Ron may have loved the setup in his STi but knew the Evo would be a better daily fit for his needs, and lack of driving time in circuit racing. The day of our interview, a foot of snow had fallen on the Utah landscape, enough in fact as Ron puts it, is perfect for the RS. “Being so into rally, one of my favorite things was the fact that the same car could be really fast on tarmac, really fast on gravel and really fast on snow with such a tiny setup change,” Ron says. “There’s a couple roads here that I could just go on and blast for three hours and it’s a free track day for me in the winter.”


Because of the close ties to professional rallying, the Evo RS is an extremely capable car right out of the box, however, it’s the hidden features in the ECU, which after some wizardry can expose some trick features such as launch control and flat foot shifting. “It can run in the group and championship in the WRC and because of that, there’s some really cool stuff built into the ECU,” Ron says. “There’s a guy here in Utah—basically in the middle of nowhere—who’s kind of an ‘Evo whisperer’ so he tuned my car. He put the flat foot shifting and launch control in my car.”


Most people would be stoked with the performance right out of the box; however, with a few modifications you can easily exceed the stock capabilities making it more like the racecars that conquer conditions around the globe.

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Not wanting to go over the top, for now, Ron chose a few key engine modifications to release some of that stored horsepower in the Evo’s breathing. A Magnaflow 3-inch catback, Buschur Racing 3-inch downpipe and a K&N filter along with some other fueling enhancements jump the stock 286 horsepower to over 300 wheel on 91 octane and over 350 when on 100 octane. (The latter being his racing setup).


“One of my favorite things on the car, because I’m such a rally nerd, are the tires because they’re actual [2010 Pirelli Pzero Trofeo] WRC spec tarmac tires,” Ron admits. Between traveling the world and other massive perks of the job, one of the huge benefits is the surplus of tires leftover from the events. Ron explains, “They [Pirelli WRC tires] were originally bought for a Gymkhana demo, which mean they’re for all out grip, and they were just sitting there so I bought them off the team.” Working inside Hoonigan Racing Division’s race shop has its benefits.


With the grippy rubber sourced, Ron chose a set of forged monoblock fifteen52 Turbomac wheels for an incredibly resilient, strong, and secret-weapon setup that can handle whatever abuse is thrown at it.


Another one of the massive advantages for Ron, is working alongside seasoned rally veteran and Mitsubishi guru, Derek Dauncy. "He has a huge history with Mitsu," Ron says. "He has all this really cool insight and still has a lot of contacts with the old WRC teams that can possibly get parts because when a team pulls out of WRC, you have a ridiculous amount of spares and usually those get sold off cheaply in bulk to some kind of brand that builds rally cars for smaller championships," Ron Explains.

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Bonus Images

Working to efficiently and reliably utilize all that grip—without taking away too much of what the car is from the factory—KW Clubsport coilover suspension was chosen for its balance of a stiffer spring and “really, really good damping.” Vorshlag front camber plates, a Rhys Millen Racing K-brace, along with Energy Suspension polyurethane bushings all round preps the setup for maximum attack or quick trips from HRD to grab an espresso.


When it comes time for winter, there’s no spot waiting in the garage for the long offseason. The setup involves only changing over a few parts to make it a frenetic terror in the snow and ice. Off come the KW Clubsports, replaced with the stock suspension so it rides higher, removal of the front Whiteline and rear Hotchkis swaybars, and conversion to the JDM RS two-pot brake calipers. This setup affords Ron a changeover from summer canyon carving to grip in even the most treacherous snow conditions with 15-inch gravel tires and a narrow snow tire.

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The Evo transitions so good in fact, that Ron recently won the open class of an ice racing competition, hence earning the new nickname, Ronni Mäkinen, aka The Iceman.


One of the next steps for Ron is to install an MML Sports Limited hydraulic handbrake, which will work perfectly with the interior of the car for a trick fitment. Being one of the last cars that were specifically made in the rally spirit, Ron wants to make sure he continues that essence in the build. "The ultimate goal is to get some sort of beater and then gut it, cage it, keep the powertrain somewhat similar because I really love the power band it has in it now; make it lighter, better and build it as a hillclimb car but make sure it remains street legal," Ron explains.


For now, this white, lightweight Evolution IX RS will keep Ron on his toes whenever time is available to exploit all its rally benefits.


*'Inspiration' photos courtesy of Ron Zaras*


2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX RS Specs

Engine Modifications:

  • Buschur Racing 3″ downpipe
  • MIL.SPEC 100 Cell High Flow Catalytic converter
  • Magnaflow 3-inch catback exhaust
  • K&N Drop-in air filter
  • Walbro 400 LPH fuel pump
  • Fuel Injector Clinic injectors
  • Tuned by FFTec for 91 octane (300 whp, street) and 100 octane (350 whp, track)
  • Mishimoto radiator
  • Samco hoses
  • Setrab oil cooler
  • Balance shaft delete
  • STM FLUIDAMPR harmonic balancer
  • English Racing/Competition Clutch street kit


Suspension Modifications:

  • KW Clubsport Coilovers
  • Vorshlag front camber plates
  • Rhys Millen Racing K-brace
  • Energy Suspension polyurethane suspension bushings all around
  • Whiteline 26mm front swaybar
  • Hotchkis 24mm adjustable rear swaybar


Braking Modifications:

  • RotorPros blank rotors (front)
  • RotorPros slotted rotors (rear)
  • Carbotech XP-12 pads (front)
  • Carbotech XP-10 pads (rear)
  • Goodridge braided lines
  • Endless RF-650 brake fluid
  • Girodisc seals


Wheels & Tires

  • 245/40/18 Pirelli Pzero Trofeo 2010 WRC Tarmac Spec tire
  • 18x9 fifteen52 Turbomac wheels color matched in Mitsubishi Wicked White



  • Deka 11lb lightweight battery
  • Ralliart original shift knob
  • ARP extended wheel studs
  • OEM Evo 8 Rear wing
  • Zeitronix LCD wideband/EGT display
  • No ABS
  • Air conditioning delete
  • No power door locks or windows (lol)
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