Six MINI crews managed to complete this year’s gruelling Dakar Rally in Peru, which took place between 6th to 17th January, with five of them in the top ten. The MINI John Cooper Works Rally crew of Joan ‘Nani’ Roma and co-driver Alex Haro achieved second place overall whilst the MINI John Cooper Works Buggy of Carlos Sainz won the closing stages of the rally.
MINI Motorsport and motorsport partner X-raid were represented by two types of Mini at this year’s edition of the Dakar Rally – the MINI John Cooper Works Buggy and MINI John Cooper Works Rally.
The Dakar Rally is known for being the most demanding long-distance cross-country rally in motorsport and Peru was once again selected as the host country for this year’s 2019 Dakar Rally. The country has plenty of desert and mountain tracks to give competitors 5,000 km of off-road racing that tests the team’s racing crews and riders as much as the cars themselves.
The rally ended in Lima, Peru’s capital after the tenth and final stage of the rally, which took place over 359 km, of which 112 km were an off-road Special Stage.
A laid-back Nani Roma said that “Second place is not too bad! We had a nice strategy all the way through the race although you are always more intelligent now after the race with perspective. We did well and we are happy. We would like to thank the team – not just my mechanics and engineers but the whole X-raid support team.”
Jakub ‘Kuba’ Przygonski and co-driver Tom Colsoul kept up their consistent pace in the final stage to finish fifth and securing the pair fourth place overall in a MINI John Cooper Works Rally. Cyril Despres and co-driver Jean Paul Cottret were the third MINI crew to finish the Dakar 2019 inside the top five in fifth position in a MINI John Cooper Works Buggy.
Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk finished Stage 10 in 15th place, which assured the pair of a top ten finish in seventh place, with eighth place overall. The fifth MINI car inside the top ten went to the MINI John Cooper Works Rally of Boris Garafulic and co-driver Filipe Palmeiro.
There was also real cause for celebration for the competing MINI crews and MINI Motorsport partner X-Raid, when Stage 10 was won by the MINI John Cooper Works Buggy crew of Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz. Particularly as the Spanish pair had experienced more than their fair share of bad luck throughout the previous nine stages, which saw them finish this year’s Dakar Rally in 13th place.
In summing up this year’s rally, Sven Quandt, CEO of X-raid commented “That was a tough Dakar and the driver who made no mistakes emerged as the winner. Congratulations to Nasser. The same goes for the runner-up, Nani Roma. He did a great job. Going into the Dakar, he was not necessarily one of the favourites, but second place is superb. For me, Kuba also performed brilliantly in the MINI John Cooper Works Rally. Many had written him off, but he proved them wrong with fourth place, adding to his success story. The Dakar was as tough as we expected – a lot of sand and dunes. We certainly had a few technical issues, which did not help us. However, I think the fact that we had five MINI in the top ten shows how reliable they are. It is a pity that Stéphane was forced to retire yesterday. Fortunately, David is well.”
For more information on this year’s Dakar Rally please visit www.dakar.com
Simon Burrell is Editor-in-Chief of Our Man Behind The Wheel and Our Man On The Ground Travel and Lifestyle Magazine.
Photographs courtesy of BMW Group