With the 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross having been on the streets for about a year now, the automaker decided to really test the new crossover by taking it to a different kind of terrain. Being the last in-house vehicle by Mitsubishi, the best way to remind consumers and auto enthusiasts what Mitsubishi Motors is capable of is to take the Eclipse Cross to a rally. For 2019, the first will be the Dakar Rally.
The Dakar Rally
The Dakar Rally has been running for 30 years, held and organized by the Amaury Sport Organisation. Held in various locations, the first rally was held in Paris, France, but for 2019, Peruvian fellows will get to see the rally live. They may have to drive a bit though, as the Dakar Rally isn’t like one’s average raceway or race track.
This is an off-road racing event, where off-road vehicles are tested for their endurance. Designed for more than off-road mods, a vehicle will need to be a true off-road vehicle, or built for off-roading from the get-go. With vehicles driving through dunes, mud, camel grass, rocks, and desert land, they’ll need to be able cross over 500 miles a day throughout the varying terrain.
Why the Eclipse Cross?
Two reasons. One – Mitsubishi has been racing the European Outlander, the Pajero, with Mitsubishi Evolution racing technology, for some time now. With this, the automaker has won the Dakar Rally twelve times. Now, to remind everyone how well Mitsubishi can race, they’re switching out the Pajero Evo with a new prototype for the Eclipse Cross – the Eclipse Cross T1.
As noted, the Dakar Rally has been made for “true off-road vehicles”, and thus, Mitsubishi Motors designed an Eclipse Cross made to go off-road. Equipped with a double wishbone suspension with two fully-adjustable Öhlins Racing dampers on each wheel and a full-time four-wheel drive system, the Eclipse Cross T1 should be able to handle going off-road. Under the hood is a turbo-diesel engine that can generate up to 340 horsepower and 505 lb-ft of torque, transmitted through a six-speed sequential transmission, able to be brought to a halt by four-piston AP racing brakes behind each wheel. With a mechanical centre differential and limited slip differentials in the front and rear, the driver shouldn’t have too much trouble getting through the more difficult parts of the rally.
Driving the Eclipse Cross T1 during the rally is the very talented Spanish driver Cristina Gutierrez, with Pablo Huete as her co-driver. Mitsubishi Motors Spain has backed Gutierrez for the last four years – she was also the first Spanish woman to complete the Dakar in a car in 2017 and was highest placed female driver in 2018. They got a real winner behind the wheel of this off-road prototype, and it sounds like she’s already looking forward to the rally.
“For me, it is a big step ahead compared to the previous years. 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!” – Gutierrez
The 2019 Dakar Rally starts January 6, 2019 and ends on the 17th. With over 3000 miles to traverse, 70-percent of which is sand, we’ll see how well these vehicles endure the rally, especially the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross T1. Stay up-to-date with the rally and Mitsubishi on Miami Lakes Mitsubishi social media. Or find the latest Eclipse Cross to drive today with us.