The Dakar Rally bears little resemblance to the event after which it is named, considering that next year it will be run in South America – not Africa – and the Mitsubishi that will compete bears only a passing resemblance to the Lancer sedan on which it is based.
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Mitsubishi has forsaken the token Pajero look for its next Dakar Racer instead coming up with the MXR09 Racing Lancer, which features the gaping mouth and slanted headlights of the Lancer sedan to evoke its namesake.
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation says the Racing Lance’s mission will be to target victory on next year's Dakar which breaks new ground in 2009 with a switch from Africa to South America.

For Mitsubishi Motors, not only does the Dakar serve as a platform for the sales and marketing of the Pajero/Montero but it also provides a unique proving ground for powertrains and 4WD transmission systems.

MMC says that in light of the corporate decision to focus the firm's cross-country rallying activities on the development of a new diesel engine, it is a natural step for the Lancer (known in Japan as Gallant Fortis), a commercially and globally important model powered by the diesel power plant, to take over the competition baton from the Pajero/Montero and the Pajero/Montero Evolution.

It says that the technological expertise accumulated thanks to the firm's cross-country rally program - which includes the Dakar - will be applied to its diesel engine development, including the new-generation clean diesel that will power the future production cars.

Meanwhile, as was previously the case, the 4WD systems technology will also be carried over to the production versions after their configuration has been optimized as a function of their end-use.

Under its new corporate communication tagline 'Drive@earth', Mitsubishi Motors has a commitment to providing the joy of mobility for customers worldwide while at the same time taking a responsible stance on the environment.

Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart will also play an important role as an integral part of the automobile research and development program.

Wondering what MXr09 means? Well MMC says 'MRX09' stands for 'Mitsubishi Rally 'Cross Country'('X'), plus a suffix for the year in which it competes ('09' = 2009).