Fumio Nutahara and Katsuhiko Taguchi will give the 'new' Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X its debut outing in the FIA World Rally Championship on the Rally Japan this week.

Nutahara, who is currently seventh in the Production Car World Rally Championship drivers' standings, having notched up 14 points in total, will be the first into the stages in the new car and he is looking forward to this honour.

"I will do my best to meet the expectation," said Fumio. "In the Japan Rally Championship this year, I participate with Evolution X and the development has improved. The Lancer Evolution X comes to the P-WRC with still more [development done]. I think we can show a lot."

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So how does it differ to the previous model?

"The engine is totally different. The mid-speed torque has increased and will be more suitable for this type of car," Fumio added. "The suspension is much better than the previous model too. The traction is also very good.

"This year, the last time in New Zealand we had a bit of trouble but until then we were steadily gaining the points.

"We're aiming at higher standings in the last part of the season and especially here on Rally Japan. I am here at my home so I will be looking for victory."

Taguchi meanwhile, who will compete in the P-WRC category as a 'wild card' and who finished eighth overall last year en-route to victory in the Group N class, is also optimistic.

"This year my participation is in the PWRC and I hope to have a good result like in 2008," he continued. "I have participated a lot in the development with this new car. It feels good to see the car making its [WRC] debut at last.

"Moreover, I'm very confident of the support of the five dealer mechanics chosen from the 4,400 Mitsubishi mechanics to support me in a Mitsubishi Motors dealer team. I am aiming for a good result on Sunday."