Mitsubishi has released the first images of its new Racing Lancer rally car, ahead of its motorsport debut in round six of the 2008 FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup this October. The vehicle combines elements from both the new Lancer sedan and previous Pajero rally vehicles, and features a sportback profile as seen in the recently previewed Lancer Sportback five-door.

Developed as a cross-country rally car, the Racing Lancer is also being groomed to make a splash at the 2009 Dakar Rally. The Dakar Rally’s move from Africa to South America will prove an interesting challenge to the new Racing Lancer, and Mitsubishi is hopeful of a podium finish following the successful trial period of the new engine. Piloting the vehicle will be Stéphane Peterhansel, the Dakar's most successful competitor with a total of nine outright wins.

The Racing Lancer is powered by a 3.0L turbocharged V6 diesel race engine, designed to raise Mitsubishi’s diesel profile - in much the same way that Audi did with its R10 Le Mans car. When developing the powertrain, engineers modified the layout of the previous-generation V6 design to improve cooling efficiency and also upgraded the turbocharger to improve both power delivery and reliability.