Mitsubishi has announced that its new Delica D:5 minivan will serve as a support vehicle for the automaker's factory Dakar effort, which will feature another new product, the restyled 2-door Pajero, in the starring role. The stylish new Delica -- a Japan-only model, unfortunately -- was revealed by Mitsubishi at the end of last month. The consumer version receives power from its 2.4-liter engine, channeled through an AWD system. The Delica's role in the Dakar rally will undoubtedly help the people mover bolster its modest soft-roading pretensions with its home-market customers.
The actual Dakar Delica will be suitably modified to handle the 8,000 KM trek. Naturally, safety equipment such as a roll cage and proper bucket seats will be fitted, and the van's mechanicals will be fortified to survive the punishment it's likely to face as it bounces across the desert. The standard suspension will be reinforced and see rally-spec shocks and springs added. The same goes for the wheels and tires, obviously, and the van's fuel tank will get added capacity to help minimize the risk of running out of fuel during the rally's extensive driving days.
We're looking forward to seeing how the D:5 looks in full racing livery, a preview of which you see above. If Mitsubishi's confident it can complete the event, that's enough for us. They've been at this for a while now, so they know what they're doing and how to prepare a vehicle for the event.