Mitsubishi team manager Dominique Serieys has denied that the company's decision to enter an all-new car for this year's Dakar Rally is a risk.
After winning the last seven Dakar events with the Pajero, Mitsubishi Ralliart have switched to the diesel-engined Racing Lancer for the 2009 rally.
Factory drivers Stephane Peterhansel, Luc Alphand, Joan Roma, and Hiroshi Masuoka will all use the Lancer, which is a totally new design with a V6 quad turbo diesel engine, a longer wheelbase and a lower centre of gravity than its ultra-successful predecessor.
When asked by autosport.com whether he thought introducing the new car in the Dakar was a risk, Serieys replied "I do not think so."
"We took many more risks in the past," he said. "We won the last seven years consecutively with the petrol engine technology and the Pajero Evolution. Do you continue, do you take a new challenge, or do you stop because you have won everything?"
Serieys believes that despite Mitsubishi relying on a brand new machine, their main rivals are still under greater pressure as they bid to end Mitsubishi's long run of Dakar wins.
"For this moment, I have no pressure at all," Serieys said.
"The team is very well prepared. For us it's a new project, even if we did 18,000 kilometres in the test. The car is fully brand new, it is the first time that all the drivers have the new car.
"The pressure is not on our shoulders, we are the winners for the last seven years. We know what it means to be the leaders, to manage the pressure during all the rally when everybody wants to fight us. We have a good team in terms of strategy, and very high experience in the team itself."