Communique 1
December 23, 1996

Follow Mitsubishi's Drive For Victory in New Look 'Dakar'

Mitsubishi Motors continues its legendary involvement in the famous 'Dakar' cross country rally which starts on January 4, 1997 from the Sengalese capital with a range of Mitsubishi Pajeros, the new Mitsubishi Challenger/Montero Sport, and two Mitsubishi FR415 4WD-RS trucks.

The African classic takes on a new look this year, starting and finishing in Dakar and visiting four countries and with a much reduced level of support allowed to bring back the true spirit of adventure as man and machine battle against the elements in the searingly hot deserts and sahel of northern and central Africa.

Top Japanese ace Kenjiro Shinozuka, partnered by Frenchman Henri Magne, will drive the Team Mitsubishi Oil Ralliart Pajero, teaming up with French pair Bruno Saby and Dominique Serieys in the Team PIAA Mitsubishi Ralliart Pajero, fellow Frenchmen Jean-Pierre Fontenay and Bruno Musmarra in the Team Off Road Express Ralliart Pajero and Hiroshi Masuoka co-driven by Andreas Schulz in the Team Car Plaza Mitsubishi Oil on the Mitsubishi Challenger /Montero Sport. All the Mitsubishi cars will be equipped with Michelin tyres.

In a major change of direction, moving away from the 'Desert Racer' prototype image to the more demanding off-road adventure status, the top Mitsubishis will run in the T2 category, which means the cars are closely related to the Pajeros and the Mitsubishi Challenger / Montero Sport driven on the normal road, although they will be modified to extract the top performance.

Some of the Mitsubishi 4WD cars entered in this 1997 Rally will be supported by national importers from all over the world such as Spain, Brazil, Portugal, Thailand,

Crossing the most challenging route ever from Senegal, through Mauritania, Mali, Niger and back, the emphasis will be on reliability combined with performance, driver and navigator skill and team work.

All the MItsubishi vehicles scrutineered on December 21 in the French port of Le Havre before leaving by boat to Dakar.

Throughout the event, Mitsubishi will provide full details of each day's events with a daily report service which will convey all the drama and excitement of the ultimate motor sport adventure. The report service starts on the evening of January 4 at the end of the first leg, and will continue until the survivors return to Dakar on January 19.

Copyright 1996 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.