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The purpose-built rally car that Mitsubishi fields in the no-longer-aptly-named 2009 Dakar (the venue for the race is now South America, remember) will shed its Pajero moniker as well as the nominal styling elements that tied it to the Mitsu SUV. Instead, the new MRX09 is the "Racing Lancer". As such, the front end gets the Lancer's "Run for your lives!" gaping maw grille and squinty headlamps. In its press release announcing the updated vehicle, Mitsubishi also reaches for another Lancer tie-in when it points out the happy coincidence that the MRX09's bodywork "is redolent of the Lancer Sportback", which is another way of saying, "it slopes down in the rear." In any case, the Lancerized bodywork is more appealing than the squareback rump the Pajero racer wore. The new race buggy's drivetrain consists of the erstwhile Pajero Evolution's competition-prepped e4WD system and 3.0L turbodiesel producing over 260 horses and 480 lb-ft of torque. Air will be caught, sand will be kicked, and if history is any indication, a trophy will be hoisted when all's said and done.

[Source: Mitsubishi via Paul Tan]


PRESS RELEASE:
Mitsubishi Introduces new 'Racing Lancer' (MRX09) for the 2009 Dakar

Tokyo, July 16, 2008- Mitsubishi Motors Corporation has developed a new competition car, the Racing Lancer, whose mission will be to target victory on next year's Dakar which breaks new ground in 2009 with a switch from Africa to South America. For Mitsubishi Motors, not only does the Dakar serve as a platform for the sales and marketing of the Pajero/Montero but it also provides a unique proving ground for powertrains and 4WD transmission systems. In light of the corporate decision to focus the firm's cross-country rallying activities on the development of a new diesel engine, Mitsubishi Motors sees it as a natural step for the Lancer (known in Japan as Gallant Fortis), a commercially and globally important model powered by the diesel powerplant, to take over the competition baton from the Pajero/Montero and the Pajero/Montero Evolution. The technological expertise accumulated thanks to the firm's cross-country rally program - which includes the Dakar - will be applied to its diesel engine development, including the new-generation clean diesel that will power the future production cars. Meanwhile, as was previously the case, the 4WD systems technology will also be carried over to the production versions after their configuration has been optimized as a function of their end-use.

Under its new corporate communication tagline 'Drive@earth', Mitsubishi Motors has a commitment to providing the joy of mobility for customers worldwide while at the same time taking a responsible stance on the environment. Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart will also play an important role as an integral part of the automobile research and development program.

The Racing Lancer is a Super Production Cross-Country Rally car, which has been developed in compliance with the FIA's Group T1 regulations (modified cross-country rally cars). It also complies with the new rules due to come into force in 2010. Needless to say, the new rally car has profited from the technical expertise and experience gained with the Pajero/Montero and the Pajero/Montero Evolution which secured 12 outright Dakar wins during its uninterrupted 25-year participation on the celebrated African event, a sequence which began with the fifth edition of the rally in 1983. The MRX09 features a new, multi-tubular steel frame which has benefited from advanced CAE analysis with a view to optimizing the layout and dimensioning of the tubing. The car will be powered by the 3.0-liter V6 turbocharged diesel engine which the company is currently developing on qualifying rounds of the 2008 Dakar Series and the 2008 FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup. The carbon-fibre bodywork of the MRX09 is redolent of the Lancer Sportback, a new sporty hatchback due to be released on the European market this summer. The new car will be equipped with the same 4WD system, drive train, suspension and brakes following their modification in accordance with the new technical regulations and as a function of the characteristics of the diesel turbo powerplant.

* MRX09: the new codename for Mitsubishi's latest cross-country rally challenger. 'MRX09' stands for 'Mitsubishi Rally 'Cross Country'('X'), plus a suffix for the year in which it competes ('09' = 2009).

Technical specification
Overall length: 4,475mm
Overall width: 1,990mm
Wheelbase: 2,900mm
Track (front/rear): 1,750mm/1,750mm
Weight: 1,900kg
Engine: 2,997cc V6 turbocharged diesel
Maximum power: more than 190kW (260hp)
Maximum torque: more than 650Nm (66.3kgm)
Transmission: Ricardo five-speed sequential, manual
4WD system: permanent four-wheel drive with limited slip central differential