Dakar 2013 Update: Four MINIs in the Top Ten

Official MINI Motorsport Announcement. Four MINI ALL4 Racings in the top ten after the first stage of the 2013 Dakar Rally. Reigning champion Stéphane Peterhansel is the best-placed MINI driver in sixth place.

The 2013 Dakar Rally has started. After a ceremonial start in Peru’s capital city Lima, the competitors faced a liaison section of around 250 kilometres before they could really go full throttle. The subsequent, short 13 kilometre timed stage was more of a sprint, though, than the remaining 13 marathons sections which are still ahead of the competitors. Just three per cent of the total distance 8.574 kilometres has only been completed.

Fired up by thousands of Dakar fans, Stéphane Peterhansel headed the field of MINI ALL4 Racings entered by the X-raid Team to end the day with a 34 second deficit on leader Carlos Sainz. As times on the opening stage are multiplied by a factor of three, Stéphane is officially 1:42 minutes behind the pacesetter. However, the reigning Dakar champion enjoys rearward cover provided by team-mates Leonid Novitskiy and Krzysztof Holowczyc in seventh and eighth place, respectively. Nani Roma holds a provisional tenth place overall.

Does the day’s result reflect a shift in the balance of power after revisions to the technical regulations, which endow the buggies with a performance advantage over the MINI ALL4 Racings? All or nothing for the X-raid Team? Still too early to judge. True, Carlos Sainz in P1 and Nasser Al-Attiyah in P3 are driving buggies. However, extremely short stages such as the opening test generally have little impact on the overall result. The next three stages, which traverse the extended dunes found between Pisco, Nazca and Arequipa, are expected to provide a truer picture of the actual situation.

The Dakar has started, but the rally only gets underway in earnest on Sunday, which features an 85-kilometre stage winding around the city of Pisco, starting 10.11 am local time (CET +6 hours). Keep up to speed with the latest news about the X-raid Team on the 2013 Rallye Dakar via Twitter.com/MINImotorsport and Facebook.com/MINImotorsport.

Top 5 (after Stage 1): 1. Sainz, 2. Alvarez, 3. Al-Attiyah, 4. Chiherit, 5. Chabot.

  • I’m just curious; how much of this car is actually MINI besides the body?

    • All the cars racing in this class are purpose built from the ground up. That’s true of basically all race cars that aren’t specifically required to be street cars in their class or series. This race and this class isn’t one of those. That said, it’s still BMW Motorsport division developing the cars. So it’s not as though it’s a Chevy V8 under the hood. It’s still BMW racing tech. But to the original question, these cars are huge (they have to be to race Dakar competitively) and are only shaped like Countryman. Again, this is the same for every other car in this class as well. Some people get all bent out of shape about this — as though somehow only street-stock cars should be allowed to race — and frankly, I don’t get it. It’s not like there are any street components in NASCAR or AMLS or F1, yet many OEMS still field teams and base the cars (even if just in spirit) on cars in their lineup. That’s racing.

      • And MINI Design was actually responsible for the design (aero work) that went into the car.

        • Heck i wish they’d release a Dakar”ish” Version of the Countryman lifted and all decked out ready for some off road action stock. I’d trade my clubby in right away.

        • I think a Beachcomber with doors would have been a big hit.

        • Nick

          I says MINI on it and that’s good enough for me.

      • Awesome! Thanks for the info Nathaniel.

  • RB

    And my man Gordon fails…agin.