Mitsubishi’s latest cross-country rally car, the turbo-diesel Racing Lancer, is to make its long-awaited official debut in round six of 2008 FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup.
Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart is developing the Lancer with the clear aim of winning the 2009 Dakar.
The prospect of this happening will be much improved by the fact that nine-times Dakar winner Stephane Peterhansel will be behind the wheel of the new car when the prestigious event commences.
Powered by a new turbocharged diesel engine, the car has already been put through its paces in several races including the Central Europe Rally and the Baja Espana.
The Racing Lancer is due to undergo testing in Morocco, covering 8,000km.
Japanese driver Hiroshi Masuoka is confident about the newcomer’s potential: "The diesel version is overwhelmingly easy to drive thanks to its tremendous torque which is available over an even broader rev-band.
"It outperforms the petrol-powered car in terms of controllability over challenging terrain, as well as when accelerating out of corners and along high-speed straights. With the right set-up it would be comfortably faster."