Last January, MINI surprised the racing world by taking first place honors in the grueling Dakar Rally
. Even more surprising was the fact that 2012 represented MINI’s very first attempt at the event, a testament to the preparation and planning of the X-raid Team, as well as the durability of the MINI Cooper Countryman
In 2013, driver Stéphane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret will attempt to repeat last year’s win, again behind the wheel of an X-raid prepared MINI. Peterhansel is no stranger to the event: 2012 marked his 10th Dakar Rally win, and the French driver insists it won’t be his last.
The 2012 Dakar Rally saw a total of five MINIs entered by the X-raid Team, which took both the first and second podium spots at race end. The remaining three MINI entries all finished within the top ten, a remarkable feat for a manufacturer’s first attempt at the storied rally.
For this year’s Dakar Rally, the X-raid team will also rely on MINI Countryman
models equipped with ALL4 all-wheel-drive as support vehicles. Further ensuring the cars’ ability to stand up to off-road conditions, the Countryman support vehicles will be enhanced by genuine MINI Accessories.
These include a four-piece exterior trim set, meant to guard against stone chips; mud flaps for front and rear wheel arches; auxiliary lighting and all weather trunk and floor mats. We’re fairly certain the X-raid team will beef the cars up with aftermarket bits like off-road tires, longer-travel suspension and underbody skid plates, too.
MINI’s point in promoting the race is simple: by illustrating the off-road capabilities of the MINI Countryman, it’s demonstrating that buyers needing the sure-footed traction of all-wheel-drive now have a more entertaining alternative to traditional crossovers and SUVs.