The 2003 Dakar Rally was the 25th anniversary of the event, starting on New Year’s Day in Marseilles, South of France. It proceeds to Spain, Tunisia and Libya, finishing at Sharm El Sheikh on the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, on January 19th.
The Rally covers a period of 19 days, over a total distance of 8,602 km with 5,257 km being competitive. The official name is the 2003 Telefonica Dakar, with Spain’s telecommunications firm being the main sponsor.
Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution
The newly-developed Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution / Montero Evolution conforms to the Super Production Class inaugurated in 2002 and has been developed using the vast experience Mitsubishi has gained since its first entry into the Paris-Dakar Rally back in 1983 and the numerous rounds of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies it has contested.
The Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution / Montero Evolution differs from the older 2002-specification in terms of exterior body styling and dimensions. It is 113 mm longer than the older model, 39 mm wider and has a wheelbase 180 mm longer than its predecessor. Both the front and rear track have been extended by 22 mm. The new T2 model is powered by a revised 6G74, six-cylinder, 3,497cc, 24-valve MIVEC V6 engine and utilises ECI multi-injection and a six-speed transmission. Ralliart claims the unit produces 270 bhp at 6,000 rpm and a massive 36 kg-m of torque at 3,500 rpm.
2003 competition models will run on BF Goodrich tyres and use independent double wishbone front and rear suspension, six-pot ventilated discs and power assisted rack and pinion steering. Mitsubishi also has its own tyre-deflation system, which automatically inflates and deflates the tyres with a push of a button on the dashboard.
Fifth one-two-three for Mitsubishi Motors
The Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution / Montero Evolution crew of Hiroshi Masuoka and Andreas Schultz have won the 2003 TelefÃ³nica Dakar Rally which finished today in Sharm El Sheikh on the east coast of Egypt. The Japanese/German pairing claimed an incredible 1 hour, 52 minute and 12 second winning margin after 19 days and 5,216 kilometres of competition in an 8,552 kilometre route that has taken the crews from Marseilles in France, down to Spain, Tunisia, across Libya and into Egypt. Masuokas win represents Mitsubishi’s eighth Dakar Rally victory, cementing its status as the most successful manufacturer in the 25 year history of the event. This is also Masuoka’s second consecutive win and he is also the first Mitsubishi driver to triumph in the event twice. Co-driver Schultz also claims a second win in this legendary event, the German taking honours with former Mitsubishi driver Jutta Kleinschmidt back in 2001.