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Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution
2006 SAG - Paris-Dakar - Pajero - Picard-Alphand -01.JPG
The Pajero that won Dakar in 2006 with the former alpine skier Luc Alphand
ManufacturerMitsubishi Motors
Body and chassis
ClassRally raid
Layout4-wheel drive
Engine3.5 L 24-valve V6

The Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution is an off-road competition car based on the Mitsubishi Pajero. It was specially designed to take part in the rally raids with the main objective of winning the Dakar Rally.[1] In addition to those produced for competition use only, a road-legal version was manufactured by Mitsubishi from 1997 to 1999 in order to homologate the Pajero Evolution for the Dakar Rally's T2 class. Approximately 2500 road-legal examples were produced.[2][3][4]

Street version (V55W)

1997-1999 Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution street version, front view
1997-1999 Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution street version
1997-1999 Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution street version, rear view
Rear view

The road-legal version of the Pajero Evolution was produced between 1997 and 1999. It was based on the second generation Pajero but had many features unique to the model. Approximately 2500 units were produced in order to homologate the type for the Dakar Rally's production-based T2 class. It was equipped with a 3.5-litre 24-valve DOHC V6 6G74 engine with MIVEC and a dual plenum variable intake. This engine produced a claimed 275 bhp at 6500 rpm.[2][4][5] The two-door body incorporated large fender flares, two fin-like rear spoilers, a hood scoop, and various other racing-inspired styling elements. Skid plates and mudflaps were included for additional off-road protection. Double wishbone independent suspension was used on the front and the rear used a multi-link independent suspension unique to the Pajero Evolution. 4WD was standard, with front and rear Torsen differentials.[2]

Competition history

In January 1983, the first Pajero Evolution debuted at the Paris Dakar Rally, taking first place in 1985 at only the third attempt. Other wins followed, at events such as the Australasian Safari and Northern Forest.

With 12 victories from 1985 to 2007, it is the car that has won the Dakar Rally the most times.[6]

Dakar victories

# Year Driver Co-driver
1 1985 France Patrick Zaniroli France Francia Jean Da Silva
2 1992 France Hubert Auriol France Philippe Monnet
3 1993 France Bruno Saby France Dominique Serieys
4 1997 Japan Kenjiro Shinozuka France Henri Magne
5 1998 France Jean-Pierre Fontenay France Gilles Picard
6 2001 Germany Jutta Kleinschmidt Germany Andreas Schulz
7 2002 Japan Hiroshi Masuoka France Pascal Maimon
8 2003 Japan Hiroshi Masuoka Germany Andreas Schulz
9 2004 France Stéphane Peterhansel France Jean-Paul Cottret
10 2005 France Stéphane Peterhansel France Jean-Paul Cottret
11 2006 France Luc Alphand France Gilles Picard
12 2007 France Stéphane Peterhansel France Jean-Paul Cottret

A Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution, driven by Andrew Cowan, finished the 1984 Paris–Alger–Dakar as the third ranked winner in overall class after covering more than 11,000 km. Mitsubishi dominated with multiple first, second and third place podium finishes until their final wins in 2007. From 2001-2005, with the introduction of their third generation Pajero with monocoque chassis and fully independent suspension, Mitsubishi had 5 consecutive first-place finishes and 12 of all 15 podium finishes in the same time period. Their overall record was 12 total overall wins (1st place) in the "Cars Class" and 150 stage wins (the second best being Peugeot with only 78 stage wins in comparison). Mitsubishi earned the title of ‘Most Dakar Rally Wins by A Manufacturer’ from the Guinness World Records.[7]

See also


  1. ^ "MITSUBISHI MOTORS - A Unique and Glorious Cross-Country Heritage". Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Orlove, Raphael (14 May 2015). "Meet The Mitsubishi Pajero Evo: The Last Forgotten Homologation Special". Jalopnik. Retrieved 2020-03-17.
  3. ^ Okula, Chris (2018-08-16). "The Pajero Evo Is The Best SUV You've Never Heard of". DriveTribe. Retrieved 2020-03-17.
  4. ^ a b DeMuro, Doug (October 2016). "The Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution Was the SUV Version of the Lancer Evolution". Retrieved 2020-03-17.
  5. ^ "1997 Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution specifications, fuel economy, emissions, dimensions 152372". Retrieved 2020-03-17.
  6. ^ "Pajero: la regina della Dakar". Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  7. ^ "Most Dakar Rally wins by a manufacturer". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 2019-10-08.