Mitsubishi Evo MR RS

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What’s new? The Evo IX MR (for Mitsubishi Racing) is the latest and last of the domestic factory Evos before the all-new Evo X checks in around September 2007. Its job is to keep the Evo flame alive on home turf and, while it might seem a bit weedy alongside all the UK-based FQ specials (it has only 276bhp), rest assured that it does pack plenty of The Right Stuff. What’s more, there’s a chance it might appear in the UK as a stopgap before the eagerly-anticipated Evo X arrives. What’s it like? Mitsubishi’s mission with the MR is to make it quicker and easier to drive than the Japanese Evo IX. A new titanium-aluminium turbine wheel sharpens the Evo’s already storming turbo response by nearly 30 per cent. Ride height drops down by a quarter of an inch and a new set of Eibach springs offer a more forgiving ride. In the MR, the Lancer’s trick diff can now shuffle 10 per cent more torque between the rear wheels, so traction and turn-in are both improved. Driving the MR on a short Japanese circuit, the differences are not huge, but it seems tighter and more settled than past Evos. Mitsubishi says the small tweaks refine driving performance and help to calm the Evo’s infamous, jolty ride. Should I buy one? It’s quick, of course, but despite the turbo upgrade you still need 3000rpm on the clock before the real action arrives. So the MR’s not a ballistic thriller in the FQ mould, but it is huge fun, especially in RS form, which is 100kg lighter than the normal full-spec GSR. Peter Nunn

Al Khelaifi fastest at Qatar National Sprint Round 2, Martin Staffel and Daniel Mc Carthy finished second and third respectively. Mohammed Aldelaimi, driving a Mitsubishi EVO 10, completed the fastest lap in Class 4M, and clocked a time of 1:15.068. Ibrahim Al Mannai finished the lap in 1:15.354 to be placed. – News from thepeninsulaqatar.com

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