|MITSUBISHI DEVELOPS NEW PAJERO/MONTERO EVOLUTION FOR 2007 DAKAR RALLY||
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) and MMSP, the companys motorsport subsidiary, have jointly developed a new purpose-built vehicle – the revised Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution.
The new model – codenamed the MPR13 – complies with FIA Super Production regulations and has been developed in unison with the launch of the new generation Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) version of the road-going Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution.
The MPR13 features a wide variety of modifications, including a newly-designed integral frame structure. Prior to the 2007 Dakar Rally, which starts in Lisbon on January 5th, the new car was put through extensive tests in Morocco, one of the countries in the route for Januarys rally.
The new Pajero/Montero Evolution will also participate in the UAE Desert Challenge, the final round of the FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup, at the start of November, as a crucial desert shakedown prior to the Dakar Rally.
The first generation Pajero/Montero Evolution made its debut in the market back in 1982. Mitsubishi began competing in the Dakar Rally the following season, four years after the event was created. Since then the company has applied knowledge gained from competing in the Dakar Rally and general Cross-Country rally competition to boost and upgrade reliability, durability and dynamics of its road-going models.
The fourth generation model of the all-round SUV will be launched in October 2006. This coincides with the 25th anniversary of the vehicles cumulative production total exceeding the 2.5 million mark. Participation in the 2007 Dakar Rally will be the 25th year that the car has taken part in the grueling African event. The new Pajero* Evolution or MPR13 is a result of the close collaboration between Okazaki R&D and Design in Japan and MMSP SAS of Pont de Vaux in France.
The new vehicle offers additional advantages in weight reduction and improved rigidity through the replacement of the conventional subframe with the newly-designed integral multi-tubular frame. Dynamic performance has also been upgraded by adjusting the location of heavy items such as the fuel tank and spare wheel to a lower and more central position. The lowered and centred mass, when used in conjunction with a modified suspension system, makes a significant contribution to enhanced manoeuvrability and dynamic stability.
Since the fuel tank is now placed beneath the drivers seat, the lower edges of the front door openings move downwards. To cater for the change in the configuration, the new Pajero/Montero Evolution features specific gull-wing doors.
Both at the front and rear of the car, Mitsubishis new cross-country vehicle bears a striking resemblance to the companys fourth generation Pajero/Montero Evolution road model. It strikes a unique blend of the build quality of the road car and the functional beauty of the competition car. The ressemblance between MPR 13 and the fourth generation Pajero/Montero Evolution was created on purpose to reinforce the link between the racing Pajero and the production Pajero/Montero Evolution: a first since 2002 and a marketing plus.
Recent tests confirmed that the modified engine is more responsive, courtesy of weight reduction in the valve gear train, as well as improvements to the fuel injection system. The effects of the improvements go further still: refined aerodynamics allow the engine to rev higher and more freely.
During the recent Morocco test, there were no teething problems with the new MPR13. Additional development and refinements are underway. The target is simple – to win the Dakar Rally in January for the seventh successive year and record the companys 12th outright success in the worlds most famous rally.