While grueling desert rallies have typically been home to modified Pajeros, Mitsubishi revealed it will bring a custom-built Lancer, the MRX09, to the 2009 Dakar rally.
Designed for the FIA's T1 class, the Lancer MRX09 shares little (if anything) with the production car. Although Mitsubishi released only a sketch today, the MRX09 seems to resemble the outgoing Pajero Evolution more than an actual production Lancer. The two-passenger off-road vehicle has a long hood, a set-back cabin, and a cleft rear tail - styling cues also shared with the Pajero Evo.
The specifications seem to confirm that resemblance. The MRX09 measures 176 inches in length, rides on a 117-inch wheelbase, and weighs in at 4387 pounds. In comparison, the 2008 Pajero Evolution was 165 inches long, used a 110-inch wheelbase, and weighed 4023 lbs.
The Lancer MRX09 will also make use of a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6, which will reportedly deliver more than 260 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent through a Ricardo-sourced sequential five-speed manual, and is then channeled through a permanent four-wheel-drive system, reportedly similar to the production car.
Look for the MRX09 to blitz its way between Argentina and Chile when the 2009 Dakar Rally begins in January 2009.