Mini Thinks Dakar 2019 Is Payback Time
The factory-backed Mini X-Raid team returns to the Dakar rally with both the Mini All4 Racing model loosely based on the Countryman and the two-wheel-drive Transformers-esque Mini John Cooper Works Buggy. Their aim? To win. The main hurdle? Japanese manufacturer Toyota and its Hilux trucks.
Believe it or not, Mini has made quite a name for itself in the world of rally raid in the past few years. The X-Raid team that manages the BMW-funded program has won the event four years in a row between 2012 and 2015 before Peugeot’s breakthrough win in 2016 followed by a Toyota success in 2017 and a return to form for Peugeot last year.
Now, Mini’s assault will be massive with a total of five all-wheel-drive Minis as well as three two-wheel-drive Mini buggies all aiming for that coveted first spot in the overall classification. They’ve surely got the driving talent needed to win this bigger-than-life event with Carlos Sainz, Stephane Peterhansel and Cyril Despres all aboard, but can they dodge all the curveballs that the rally throws at its competitors? The rally starts in merely two days, and it’s crunch time!
2018 Mini John Cooper Works Rally And Buggy
As is tradition, the world of motor sport is looking to kick off 2018 with the infamous Dakar Rally, one of the most brutal, unforgiving, car-breaking, will-sapping events ever conceived. The Dakar heads into its 40th running this year, and its tenth stint in South America after the move across the Atlantic in 2009, and once again, competitors will do battle over a variety of terrain, from sand, to tarmac, to boulder fields, to 13,000-foot mountain passes. With so much tough terrain and such insane distances to cover, simply completing the Dakar is considered a major accomplishment. However, X-raid and Mini aren’t looking to just reach the finish line - they wanna win. Thus far, the collaborative effort has yielded four consecutive victories between 2012 and 2015, with the most recent outing in 2017 snagging sixth overall thanks to the efforts of Argentinian driver Orlando Terranova. Now, X-raid and Mini are gearing up for a fresh approach that includes the brand-new RWD Mini John Cooper Works Buggy. Created to take advantage of certain regulations to bolster 2WD competition, the Buggy will race alongside the more traditional Countryman-based 4WD Mini John Cooper Works Rally for a two-pronged approach to tackling the Dakar.
Fittingly, both vehicles were presented in Paris prior to their competition debut. The Buggy is a particularly exciting new venture for the Germany-based X-raid, which for the past 15 years has focused primarily on 4WD competition vehicles. However, with an experienced roster of drivers ready to take the controls, plus the proven Mini Rally to bolster the ranks, the team is feeling good about its chances. Read on for details on what makes these machines tick.
Continue reading to learn more about the Mini John Cooper Works Rally.