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Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV to Contest Baja Portalegre 500 Rally

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 6/19/2015 Alex Nishimoto

Rallying is in Mitsubishi's DNA, and even though the brand is headed in a new, electrified direction, it's not giving up on its favorite motorsport. The Japanese automaker will enter an Outlander plug-in hybrid into the Baja Portalegre 500 cross-country rally in Portugal this October.

Based on the production Outlander PHEV, which is sold in Japan and Europe but is not yet available in the U.S., the racer uses the same drive battery as the road-going crossover, but with a specially tuned control system to achieve higher output from the electric motors. In the standard CUV, those two motors drive the front and rear wheels in addition to a 2.0-liter inline-four gas engine, which powers just the front wheels when the battery is low. However, Mitsubishi says that the rally version will get an upgraded engine and generator to supply more power to the motors. The Outlander PHEV has been fitted with a roll cage and other safety equipment, along with an off-road suspension and beefy rally tires.

The rig will be piloted by Hiroshi Masuoka, who won the Dakar Rally in 2002 and 2003. Masuoka will also lead the team at the Baja Portalegre 500, which celebrates its 29th year in 2015. The event is the ninth round in the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup, and is considered by many to be a warm-up for Dakar. Could Mitsubishi be gearing up to campaign the plug-in Outlander at Dakar ? The company is rumored to be working on a next-gen Pajero/Montero, which is said to also feature a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. Running a vehicle with a similar hybrid setup at Dakar could give the team valuable data ahead of an all-out campaign with the Pajero, which previously dominated the race.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Rally© Provided by MotorTrend Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Rally

Whatever Mitsubishi has planned in the future, we'll at least see the Outlander PHEV compete at the Baja Portalegre 500, which runs from October 22-24.

Source: Mitsubishi


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