Mitsubishi to Compete in 2019 Dakar Rally with Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
The last time Mitsubishi Motors Corporation competed in the Dakar Rally was at the 2012 staging of the event held in South America through independent outfit Wevers Sport where it finished at a dismal eighth place overall in its category--a far cry from its glory days in the early 2000s when it claimed the top spot for seven straight years from 2001 to 2007. Well, seven years later and Mitsubishi is once again running the famed annual rally raid, only this time, it'll be Mitsubishi Motors Spain that'll be running the team that will be bannered by homegrown driver and co-driver tandem Cristina Gutierrez and Pablo Huete. As for the car the team will be running, it'll be a Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross T1 Prototype.
Gutierrez has been backed by Mitsubishi Motors Spain for the past four years. She is also the first Spanish woman to complete the Dakar Rally in a car in 2017 in 44th place overall and was the highest-placed female driver in 2018 in 38th place.
"As always when you face a Dakar, you do it with great expectation but also a lot of respect for the test," said Gutierrez. "The first objective, of course, is to finish what is the toughest rally in the world, for the third time in a row."
The 2019 Dakar Rally will also serve as the debut of the Eclipse Cross in the famed event, but fans of the annual race are undoubtedly familiar with the Japanese carmaker, which has won the event for a total of 12 times with the Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution--a tally that's unmatched by any other manufacturer.
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross T1 prototype is built around a steel spaceframe chassis with a carbon-fiber body and employs double wishbone suspension with two fully-adjustable Öhlins Racing dampers on each wheel. In the tradition of the best Mitsubishi performance vehicles, the full-time four-wheel drive system uses a mechanical center differential and limited-slip differentials front and rear, helping transmit the turbodiesel engine's 340 hp and 686 Nm of torque to ground via a six-speed sequential transmission. Stopping power comes courtesy of four-piston AP Racing brakes on each wheel.
"For me, it is a big step ahead compared to the previous years," said Gutierrez about the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross T1. "You can go very fast with it, while it is easier to drive and has greater off road capabilities. It's the most spectacular car I've ever driven and attracts a lot of attention!"
The 2019 Dakar rally takes place in Peru from January 6 to 17, 2019, with drivers and riders facing 5,000 kilometers of timed competition over ten stages, 70 percent of which is on sand. The progress of the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross T1 can be followed at: https://www.cristinagutierreztt.com/ or on social media via #CrisToDakar.