18 November 2003

MITSUBISHI MOTORS ANNOUNCES 2004 DAKAR LINE-UP
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC), one of the most successful manufacturers in the history of the Dakar Rally, has secured a formidable line-up for its assault on the 2004 event. Four official Mitsubishi Pajeros* will take the start of this legendary event as Mitsubishi bids for its fourth consecutive Dakar Rally victory.

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Double Dakar Rally winner Hiroshi Masuoka will spearhead the assault and the Japanese star will be joined by Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel, who has won the event six times on motorcycles, and double World Rally Champion ’Miki’ Biasion, all driving Pajero Evolutions. Rising German Andrea Mayer will form part of the official team, in a Pajero.

"I hope we can repeat the 2003 yearís result, when we were first, second and third, but it will be much more difficult in the upcoming rally", predicted Sven Quandt, Head of Mitsubishi Motor Sports (MMSP). "The Dubai results have instilled us with confidence that the Pajero is reliable over a longer distance endurance event in preparation for the Dakar".

Mitsubishiís command of the Dakar Rally is impressive and, since its first entry into the Paris-Dakar Rally back in 1983, the Japanese manufacturer has won no fewer than eight times. Its strength not only lies in the expertise of drivers, moreover, Cross-Country rallying requires unprecedented navigational skills which could well be Andrea Mayerís trump card. Alongside the young German woman is fellow countryman Andreas Schultz who has also claimed two victories in this legendary event. Schultz took his maiden win with former Mitsubishi driver Jutta Kleinschmidt back in 2001, and also guided Masuoka to his second win in 2003. His role with Mayer will be pivotal to her success. His navigational experience and ability to judge the conditions are of considerable advantage to the German lady-driver.

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The Mitsubishi Motors team will also have the invaluable assistance of Jean-Pierre Fontenay, one of its former Dakar drivers. While the Frenchman has retired from competition, he will act as the teamís official test driver, drawing on his vast knowledge to assist in the set-up of the cars for this grueling event.

"We have a professional team and very experienced drivers", added Quandt "Hiroshi and Stéphane have a lot of experience and the whole team is working well together. Now that ’Miki’ has driven the Pajero Evolution in Dubai, the Dakar Rally will be his second competitive outing. We know that he is a very constant, very reliable driver. Andrea Mayer will drive the fourth car, chiefly as a back-up for the other three. After her positive result in Dubai we expect that Andrea will enjoy a challenging drive during the Dakar with the factory team".

The 2004 Dakar Rally starts in France on January 1 and takes the crews south to North Africa before finishing on January 18 in the Senegalese capital of Dakar.

*Montero in Spanish-speaking countries and USA 
Drivers
TEAM ENEOS MITSUBISHI
Driver HIROSHI MASUOKA
Co-driver GILLES PICARD
TEAM ATS MITSUBISHI
Driver STEPHANE PETERHANSEL
Co-driver JEAN-PAUL COTTRET
TEAM ENEOS MITSUBISHI
Driver "MIKI" BIASION
Co-driver TIZIANO SIVIERO
TEAM MITSUBISHI MOTOR SPORTS
Driver ANDREA MAYER
Co-driver ANDREAS SCHULZ
Entry Vehicles
MITSUBISHI PAJERO / MONTERO EVOLUTION FOR THE DAKAR 2004
The T2 Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution was developed from the Super Production car regulations that came into force from 2002. It is the fusion of cutting-edge technology and knowledge accumulated over a 20-year time period in Mitsubishi’s challenge for success in Paris-Dakar rallies.

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Cars in the Super Production class are limited to a maximum width of 2000 mm and a maximum suspension stroke of 250mm. The Pajero/Montero Evolution complies fully with these regulations.

MMSP introduced several modifications to the Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution after a detailed test and development session in Morocco in July 2003.

The major development was the successful transition from a 3.5-litre V6 engine to a 4.0-litre V6 unit. The power plant was built and developed in Japan.

"The new engine is now available in road applications in Japanese and US markets as a 3.8-litre alternative and we decided to develop it for a 4.0-litre application", said MMSP’s Technical Director Thierry Viardot.

"The new anti-roll bar system is similar to the one used in the World Rally Cars", said Viardot. "It improves stability during cornering and ensures that the Evolution handles more like a WRC car. It is particularly useful on twisty special stages, narrow tracks and the traditional Prologue stage. Another of the system’s strengths is its adaptability on bumpy tracks and in sand holes".

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Modifications have also been made to the suspension set-up and these were put into practice in the UAE. "We have worked on minor improvements, such things as spring ratios and damper cooling and roll cage has been reinforced around the windscreen and roof areas".

"The batches of components, such as drive-shafts, we will use on the Dakar were also used in Dubai and this has allowed us to look closely at potential component failures, heat treatments and improve the reliability. The plan is to develop a totally reliable car. Apart from a noisy differential on "Miki" Biasion's car, there was not one mechanical problem on the UAE Desert Challenge".

MMSP now uses Brembo brakes on all cars and this contract extends to the WRC program. The discs are slightly larger and offer better rigidity and are less susceptible to overheating in extreme temperatures and BF Goodrich tires will be fitted to all entries.

A 500-liter fuel tank has been retained, but the minimum weight has been extended from 1750 kg to 1825 kg as per FIA technical regulations.

*Montero in Spanish-speaking countries and USA 
Specifications
MITSUBISHI PAJERO* EVOLUTION FOR 2004 DAKAR RALLY
(Super Production Cross-Country Cars) Technical Specifications
OVERALL LENGTH 4445 mm
OVERALL WIDTH 1978 mm
WHEEL BASE 2725 mm
FRONT TRACK / REAR TRACK 1750 mm / 1736 mm
ENGINE MODEL Based on Mivec, 6-cylinder, 24-Valve, DOHC, adjustable inlet port, wet-sump oil system.
FUEL SYSTEM ECI multi-point fuel injection
DISPLACEMENT 3997cc
MAXIMUM OUTPUT 270 PS / 5500 rpm
TRANSMISSION 6-speed Ricardo-type, sequential shift gearbox and mechanical gear selection
4WD SYSTEM full time, mechanical centre diff lock
FRONT DIFF. / REAR DIFF. Xtrac self-locking differential / Xtrac self-locking differential
FRONT SUSPENSION
REAR SUSPENSION
Independent, double wishbones, coil spring
Independent, double wishbones, coil spring
DAMPERS 2 Donerre shocks per wheel, fully-adjustable damping and new hydraulic anti-roll bar system
STEERING Power-assisted rack and pinion
WHEEL STROKE 250 mm front and rear
FRONT BRAKES / REAR BRAKES Ventilated Brembo discs with 6-piston Brembo calipers
WHEELS Tecnomagnesio 7x16"
TYRES BF Goodrich 235/85 - 16
MINIMUM WEIGHT 1825 kgs
FUEL TANK CAPACITY 500 litres
OTHERS Aeronautic steel multi-tubular frame Honeycomb body floor and carbon fibre body
*Montero in Spanish-speaking countries and USA
MITSUBISHI PAJERO* FOR 2004 DAKAR RALLY
(Super Production Cross-Country Cars) Technical Specifications
OVERALL LENGTH 4110 mm
OVERALL WIDTH 1955 mm
WHEEL BASE 2545 mm
FRONT TRACK / REAR TRACK 1700 mm / 1700 mm
ENGINE MODEL Based on Mivec, 6-cylinder, 24-Valve, DOHC,
FUEL SYSTEM ECI multi-point fuel injection
DISPLACEMENT 3497cc
MAXIMUM OUTPUT 270 PS / 6000 rpm
TRANSMISSION 6-speed
4WD SYSTEM full time, mechanical centre diff lock
FRONT DIFF. / REAR DIFF. self-locking differential / self-locking differential
FRONT SUSPENSION
REAR SUSPENSION
Independent, double wishbones, coil spring
Independent, double wishbones, coil spring
DAMPERS 2 Donerre shocks per wheel, fully-adjustable damping
STEERING Power-assisted rack and pinion
WHEEL STROKE 250 mm front and rear
FRONT BRAKES / REAR BRAKES Ventilated Brembo discs with 6-piston Brembo calipers
WHEELS Tecnomagnesio 7x16"
TYRES BF Goodrich 235/85 - 16
MINIMUM WEIGHT 1750 kgs
FUEL TANK CAPACITY 500 litres
OTHERS Aeronautic steel multi-tubular frame Honeycomb body floor and carbon fibre body
*Montero in Spanish-speaking countries and USA