Since mid-January 1995, from the end of the last Granada-Dakar, the essential task for Team Mitsubishi Ralliart has been to perfect the T3 prototype Pajero with a view to its engagement in the next running of the big trans-African classic. This is because victory in Dakar remains the primary objective for the Japanese manufacturer. But the work behind the scenes, the long test sessions, the racing trials, must not be allowed to overshadow the succeses obtained by Mitsubishi across many categories and over all terrains during 1995.

A brief look back....

GRANADA-DAKAR RALLY -1/15 January 1995
Mitsubishi Pajero T3 triple places- a double in T2

At the arrival in Dakar, after more than 10,000 kilometres of sand, the ghostly trails and broken roads across Spain, Morocco, Mauritania, Guinea and Senegal, Team Mitsubishi Ralliart was able to report that the three official Pajero T3s were classified in the top four, and the two T2 s took a double victory in the category for modified production vehicles. The roll present leaving Granada found themselves to be all present at the finish! This was far from being the case for the other manuafcturers! Reliable and successful in its performance, the Mitsubishi Pajero was once again able to show the extent of its qualities.

Bruno Saby-Dominique Serieys, Kenjiro Shinozuka-Henri Magne and Jean-Pierre Fontenay-Bruno Masmarra drove themselves into the top places behind the Citroen ZX of Pierre Lartigue and Michel Perrin.

As for Siriwattanakun Pornsawan-Suwaranat Tull and Hiroshi Masuoka-Andreas Schulz, they completed a superb double in the T2 category, in ninth and tenth place overall. This made the third consecutive T2 success for the Pajero on the 'Dakar'.

Forming the only female crew that made it to the finish, the German Jutta Kleinschmidt and Swede Dagmar Lohman returned their Pajero T1 in 12th position overall, and second in the category for production cars. This was a unique acheivement all the more so when one knows that Jutta was driving a Mitsubishi Pajero for the first time, after many African experiences on the back of a motorbike!

TUNISIA RALLY - 6/16 April

Space Runner in a sand event-A Mitsubishi double in T1! The Mitsubishi Team skipped this event and didn't enter any T3 prototypes; on the other hand it lined up, for the first time officially in competition, the new monospace 4x4 Space Runner. Jean-Pierre Fontenay and Bruno Musmarra were given the task of discovering the African desert in this car, homologated in category T2. But faced with various problems associated with its early stages of development, Fontenay was forced to retire on the fourth out of seven days of the race.

Jean-Pierre Strugo upheld Mitsubishi honour by bringing back a very emphatic win in T1, flying in his Pajero, with which he finished in a convincing sixth place. And with the German Sven Quandt, eighth, Mitsubishi was guaranteed the double in the category.

The tests in the race....

Wishing to prepare itself for the next Granada-Dakar in the best conditions, Team Mitsubishi Ralliart decided to enter two Pajero T3 prototypes for Morocco, in slightly different versions, for Bruno Saby- Dominique Serieys and Kenjiro Shinozuka-Henri Magne. As for Jean-Pierre Fontenay and Bruno Musmarra, they lined up a Pajero T2-which finished in 8th place. Over very selective terrain, the team was able to test, in the hard conditions of full competition, various configurations-mechanical-suspension, chassis,etc... to put them progressively into practice and to improve them. Although 'Shino' unfortunately had to retire, the Japanese driver was able to continue nevertheless until Marrrakech to test his vehicle; Saby failed by only 32 seconds to land third place on the podium, after having won two special stages and twice scored second place...

Tests in race conditions all finished at this point; the Pajero T3 had begun its competition life, but there were certain areas still to be improved. Rich in learning, the Mitsubishi Team started back to work on its return from Morocco, in order to prepare for 'Dakar' 96.

Two successes for Mitsubishi!

After all the trials and tribulations, consequences, in particular the fragile political state of countries to be crossed, Rene Metge successfully carried off the second running of his long event-more than 10,000 kilometres, through regions of often inhospitable weather and terrain. Few competitors had responded to the call of Metge, and none of the major manufacturers entered into this big adventure.

Jean-Pierre Fontenay and Bruno Masmarra thus arranged a semi-official Mitsubishi Pajero T2. It is recognised that the two Frenchman had at their disposal the material best adapted to this long route, and had the most experience; it was therefore a strong probability one would have thought that they would arrive in the Chinese capital with a handsome victory. An easy win? Certainly not, if one takes into account very strong competition from drivers more powerfully armed, and hazards peculiar to this type of very long and drawn-out event. Jean-Pierre Fontenay had nonetheless only two problems; a front transmission breakage and a bump with a lorry...

Once again the Pajero T2 showed itself at the top, and the success for Mitsubishi is all the more brilliant since the marque also brought victory in the T1 category, thanks,once again, to the Pajero of Jean-Pierre Stugo, a fantastic fifth overall.

Assured 'success' evaporates...

The final tests under race conditions for Team Mitsubishi Ralliart before the Granada-Dakar Rally '96.... Bruno Saby entered the brand new Space Runner T3 in its final version. Partnered by Dominique Serieys, the man from Grenoble took command from the first stage. And despite getting stuck in the sand during the second day, the crew stayed at the head of the field...until the moment a competitor took to a special stage in the opposite direction and at high speed hit the Mitsubishi head on, on a ...They were on the fourth and last day of the race, ready for the finish. Saby and Serieys ended up with some bruises, but Al Kuwari 'the opponent' was unconscious, and his co-driver had to be taken to hospital. "Fortunately we were not on the attack, because we had a certain victory....And unfortunately for the other car the Space Runner is solid," emphasised Bruno Saby after the unfortunate meeting.

The victory for the Space Runner vanished, but the Mitsubishi team is reassured by the reliability, the competitiveness and the strength of its prototype T3! On to the Dakar!

The buggy of Jean-Louis Schlesser , was the winner of the Dubai Rally, and as it was this French driver who had helped extricate Saby from his second stage slip-up, here was true reward for his good deed!

1st overall 1993 Paris-Dakar 1st, 4th, 5th and 12th overall - 1st T2 Tunisia 1st and 2nd overall - 1st T2 Atlas 1st and 6th overall - 1st T2 Baja Spain 2nd, 6th and 8th overall - 1st T2 Baja Sardinia 1st overall - 1st T2 Baja Portugal 4th overall - 1st T2 Pharaohs 4th overall - 1st T2, 1st T1 Desert Challenge 1st and 4th overall FIA World Cup 93 Manufacturers : 2nd T3 and 1st T2 Drivers : 3rd, 6th, 8th and 11th 1994 Paris-Dakar 4th overall - 1st T2 Tunisia 11th overall -3rd T1 Atlas 2nd and 5th overall - 1st T1 Baja Spain 5th and 9th overall - 1st T1 Baja Portugal 5th overall - 1st T1 Baja Italy 4th overall - 1st T1 Australian Safari 1st overall FIA World Cup 94 1st with Pajero T1 (FIA Marathon Trophy) 1995 Paris-Dakar 2nd, 3rd and 4th overall - 1st T2 Atlas Rally 4th and 8th overall Paris-Beijing 1st overall Dubai Desert Challenge 4th overall - 2nd T1
1983Paris-Dakar 1st Marathon
1st Group II
1st team
1984 Paris-Dakar 1st Marathon
1st Group IV
1st Group II
1985 Paris-Dakar 1st & 2nd overall
1st Marathon
1st Group IV
1st Group II
Wynn's Safari 1st overall
1986 Paris-Dakar 1st Marathon
1st Group II
Baja-Montesblancos 1st overall
Wynn's Safari 1st overall
1987 Tunisia 1st overall
Baja-Montesblancos 1st overall
1988 Paris-Dakar 1st, 2nd and 3rd Group II
Tunisia 1st Group II
Atlas 1st Group II
Wynn's Safari 1st overall
1st Marathon
1989 Paris-Dakar 1st Group II
1st Private entry
Tunisia 1st overall
Wynn's Safari 1st overall
1990 Paris-Dakar 1st Group II
Atlas 1st overall
Australian Safari 1st overall
1991 Paris-Dakar 2nd, 3rd and 4th overall
Australian Safari 1st and 2nd overall
Baja Aragon 1st, 2nd and 5th overall
1992 Paris-Sirte-Cape Town 1st, 2nd and 3rd overall
Tunisia 4th overall
Atlas 1st and 2nd overall
Paris-Moscow-Beijing 2nd, 3rd and 4th overall

Copyright 1995 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.