Mitsubishi is taking its new Lancer Sportback racing. To Dakar in South America, to be precise.
Now, we know what you're thinking. Dakar isn't in South America. But it is. Sort of. After the security concerns that led to this year's Dakar rally being cancelled, the organisers have relocated the 2009 race to South America.
And Mitsubishi will be there with this, the Racing Lancer crossover. Based on the silhouette of the new Lancer Sportback, it's powered by a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 diesel race engine. Yes, diesel: Mitsubishi says that the engine will boast 'low fuel consumption and low emissions' - not the traditional preserve of cross-country racers, but admirable nonetheless.
Mitsubishi, remember, has some pedigree in Dakar racing: the Pajero has won the race 12 times. The Racing Lancer is classified as a Super Production Cross-Country Rally car, which we believe translates as 'big, powerful and deceptively fast'.
We'll see the Racing Lancer at the Paris motor show in October, before its racing debut next year.