MINI Headed to Dakar in 2011

The translation is a bit rough, but BigBlogg is reporting that a MINI Countryman sponsored by Monster Energy [drink] and run by the X-raid team will compete in the infamous Dakar Rally desert race through Argentina and Chile come January. According to BigBlogg, the project was approved by BMW back in June and they’re under the gun to get the car ready for the January start. MINI worked with long-time partner Magna Steyr to design the car, which appears to be positioned as the successor to X-raid’s current fleet of BMW X3 desert racers — offering a lower center of gravity and better handling. The best part? Powering this little desert mongrel will be a twin-turbo diesel pushing 310 horsepower and twisting a massive 524 ft/lbs of torque!

[UPDATE] We’ve received the full press release (PDF) with lots more detail about the car.