MITSUBISHI MOTORS’s second consecutive win and third overall victory
In September 1991, the Okazaki Proto No.3 was developed after a complete review of the basic specifications in order to increase its speed. Benefits such as aerodynamic performance, low driving position were validated, while a weight reduction program was undertaken, and reliability was further improved as well as durability. At the SBM facility, the wheelbase was extended compared to the 1992 model and the rims' diameter was increased from 16 inches to 18 inches, with larger tire size. The changes improved maneuverability and, as a result of the comparison of the two cars, the decision was made to field the 1993 model developed by SBM on the basis of the high reliability shown by the test vehicle. A new high-low switching mechanism was added to the transfer box of the 6-speed transmission. The engine power was also increased to 340PS by adopting a new-generation ECU. During that year, the MITSUBISHI MOTORS team announced that Shinozuka, Weber, Saby and Fontenay would participate in the 1993 model PAJERO/MONTERO Prototypes. Masuoka and Ponsawan also entered with the T2 spec short wheelbase PAJERO/MONTERO version, which was equipped with a 2L 4G63 type gasoline turbo engine.
The Dakar Rally returned to Dakar for the first time in two years. In 1992, however, the number of cars that participated had dropped sharply to 159 due to the harshness of the event across the African continent and the emergence of the Paris-Beijing Rally across the Eurasian continent. That year's course started at Trocadero Square in Paris, and for the first time, it landed in Africa at Tangier, a harbor city in northern Morocco. After that, the participants entered Algeria for the first time in five years. After a rest day in Adrar in the south of the country, they passed through Mauritania to Dakar in Senegal. The total distance was 7,490 km, and the competitive stages (SS) amounted to a short 4,818 km, but that included the longest and toughest special stage at 801 km.
The rally began with the four PAJERO/MONTEROs and five Citroën ZXs competing for the lead. The second competitive section was the stage between Beni Ounif and El Goléa, an oasis city in central Algeria. The sharp, rocky rough surface wreaked havoc on the vehicles with many forced to stop after running out of spare tires due to multiple punctures. PAJERO/MONTERO driver Saby, who took a careful approach to avoid punctures through this section, succeeded in taking the lead from Citroën’s Lartigue by 1 hour and 26 minutes. From then on, he kept up the pressure without slowing down his pace, handing the victory to MITSUBISHI MOTORS, winner for the second consecutive year, and giving the Japanese automaker its third victory. German rally driver Erwin Weber, who took 2nd overall in the previous event, finished a respectable fourth overall. All the prototypes completed the event with Shinozuka finishing fifth overall due to clutch problems and teammate Fontenay dropping to 12th overall. In the T2 specification PAJERO/MONTERO, Masuoka retired due to transmission trouble, but Thailand’s Ponsawan ranked 15th overall with his PAJERO/MONTERO entered in the modified production car class.