Stephane Peterhansel and his co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret won the 2012 and 2013 editions of the Dakar rally in an X-raid Mini ALL4 Racing. They will be back to go for the hat trick in January, 2014. Peterhansel, who has won the Dakar five times on bikes and six times in cars, did the hat trick on bikes back in the day when the event actually finished in Dakar.
This year, the rally will be run in South America again, where it has been since the political climate sadly forced it out of Africa after the cancellation of the 2008 event. (You can read the history and learn more about the 2014 event here). Sven Quandt’s X-raid team brought five Minis to the Dakar in 2012 and 2013; in 2014 the number will be raised to eleven, all the better to hold off the onslaught of Toyotas, Mitsubishis, and custom-built buggies, and, of course, the Hummer of perpetual American competitor Robby Gordon.
X-raid’s weapon of choice, the Mini All4 Racing, bears a resemblance to the Countryman. But it is about five percent larger than the production car, with a body crafted almost entirely of carbon fiber. Mini Motorsport notes that “The roll cage’s integrated steel pipes meet aircraft industry standards (as do all the steel parts). Parts of the roll cage are bonded to the monocoque. The enclosed passenger cell is the only component of the car that cannot be taken apart, while all the remaining parts on the Mini ALL4 Racing can be dismantled separately into other individual parts.”
The All4 is powered by a 2993 cc, 300 horsepower BMW twin-turbo diesel that delivers 700 Nm of torque at 2100 rpm. Power is delivered to the ground via a six-speed sequential box and lockable oil-cooled Xtrac front, middle and rear differentials. The All4 rides on 245/80R 16 Michelin All-Terrain tires. For more information on the technical specs, the team, the cars, and the drivers, check out the X-raid website.
The Dakar can be counted on to fill the winter void between racing seasons. The 2014 event begins in Argentina and ends in Chile. Peru is not on the route this time, but Bolivia is there for the bikes. The rally starts on January 5 and finishes on January 18.—Brian S. MorganBack to News