The badest Pajero

A​ very special Mitsubishi Pajero, but not what you think...

11w ago
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When one thinks of Mitsubishi either the viciously fast Lancer Evolution series comes to mind or the contrasting comfort of the Pajero SUV. What if you combined both? Mitsubishi has long felt the need to keep the link between their road products and their competition creations as they believe that the knowledge learned in various motorsport can help to improve the production line.

If you’re thinking about the Pajero Evolution, then sorry to disappoint you, but they’ve got something better. Of all the rallies in the world only one holds the title as the toughest. It makes the Acropolis rally look like a walk in the park. Of course we can only be talking about the Paris-Dakar. It may change from time to time but, every January since its inception various manufacturers have seen fit to pit their best against the ultimate off-road challenge, the trek from Paris, France through the deserts of North Africa to Dakar in Senegal. The length and varied terrain make this event a challenge just to finish, much less win. In 2002, after several years of attendance, the Mitsubishi/Ralliart team conquered the podium for the seventh time and did so with style as they ruled the first three finishing positions.

And they did it with the Pajero, not just any Pajero.

The unit in question was the second placed vehicle of German Jutta Kleinschmidt, the highest placed female ever. Still, all the Pajeros were the same. They were entered in the Super production Cross-Country class which allows modification to production cars only. Ralliart, Mitsubishi’s Motorsports arm, starts with the short wheelbase Pajero, the two door one to us Jamaicans. The engine is then fettled to produce 260ps from 3500ccs of displacement. Instead of forced induction, the engine uses a more aggressive variation of Mitsubishi’s MIVEC system driving the 24valves of the V6 power plant. Torque registers in at 36kg/m. You can do your own metric to imperial conversion.

N​o turbos here, just insane MIVEC programming for the 3.5-litre V6.

N​o turbos here, just insane MIVEC programming for the 3.5-litre V6.

A carbon triple plate clutch controls the flow of horsepower to the 6-speed manual transmission. Here the experience with the Lancer pays off with a triple Limited Slip Differential layout, one in front, a centre LSD and rear one for maximum traction over the sand dunes. To deal with all this banging about Donerre remote reservoir shock absorbers start off the suspension. Independent double wishbone all around gives full adjustability to the varied terrain and since what goes fast must come to a stop the girth of the Pajero is kept in check by six-pot brake callipers in front and 4-pot units in the rear. This means that one rear side of the Pajero has the braking potential of most cars.

D​oubled up for survival.

D​oubled up for survival.

Obviously all this works as the Pajero continues to be respected locally for its ruggedness and seven Paris-Dakar victories isn’t anything to sneeze at.

Jutta Kleinschmidt, the highest placed female in the Paris-Dakar rally ever, sat here.

Jutta Kleinschmidt, the highest placed female in the Paris-Dakar rally ever, sat here.

@​daleyrory

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