2019 Dakar Rally has finished after the tenth and final stage that saw yet another strong performance from the MINI crews. Stage 10 was 359 km in total, of which 112 km were off-road Special Stage and ended with the Dakar competitors’ arrival in Lima, capital city of Peru.
Joan ‘Nani’ Roma (ESP) and co-driver Alex Haro (ESP) raced Stage 10 according to plan, which was to place their MINI John Cooper Works Rally in a position that would safeguard their overall ranking of second. Finishing 6th in today’s stage ensured that Roma and Haro were successful and the Spanish duo did indeed secure a well-deserved second-place overall at Dakar 2019.
Jakub ‘Kuba’ Przygonski (POL) and co-driver Tom Colsoul (BEL) kept up their consistent pace to finish today’s stage in fifth. After ten days and approximately 5,000 km of racing, 3,000 km of which were off-road Special Stage sections, Przygonski and Colsoul secured fourth place overall in a MINI John Cooper Works Rally.
The third MINI crew to finish Dakar 2019 inside the top five and at position five was Cyril Despres (FRA) and co-driver Jean Paul Cottret (FRA) in a MINI John Cooper Works Buggy. Today’s result of third in stage showed what could have been if the French pairing had more fortune than misfortune amongst the Peruvian dunes and its infamous fesh-fesh.
Yazeed Al-Rajhi (KSA) / Timo Gottschalk (GER) raced at a measured pace today to finish Stage 10 in 15th. This result assured them of a top ten Dakar finish of seventh place. One position further back in eighth place overall – and the fifth MINI car to complete Dakar 2019 inside the top ten – was the MINI John Cooper Works Rally of Boris Garafulic (CHI) and co-driver Filipe Palmeiro (POR).
Another reason for the competing MINI crews and MINI Motorsport partner X-Raid to celebrate was that Stage 10 was eventually won by the MINI John Cooper Works Buggy crew of Carlos Sainz (ESP) and Lucas Cruz (ESP). This was a welcome result after the Spanish pair had more than their fair share of bad luck throughout the previous nine stages, which saw them finish this year’s Dakar 13th overall.
Sven Quandt – CEO X-raid
“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.”
“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.”
“We are so happy that we are at the Dakar finish line; it was a really tough ten days. I think the last three days was the toughest sand dunes I have ever raced on, but we managed and we had almost all the stages perfect. Our race tempo was perfect and we are happy that we could keep pace with the factory cars and drivers with our normal car. We are a young team and we can be opponents to the top guys and the Dakar legends, which is really good.”
“We had the first day without any mistake or problem and with a nice surface; we were cruising. Then came nine days suffering. We knew it would be a hard Dakar but it was even harder than we expected. It’s not only about driving and having experience, you also need some luck. It’s a different race than I used to do. I still race for passion and this Dakar I did not really enjoy many days or hours. It was a good year one.”
“We are happy we finished seventh overall. We had a lot of problems but we survived and everything is okay. Next year we hope to get a better result. This year’s Dakar was one of the more difficult ones but it was okay for me and I think we managed well.”
Dakar was good and we’re very happy to finish. It was very hard; more demanding than all of the other ones, but we’re happy to be back and now it’s time to rest!”
“It’s been a difficult rally for us, especially after day three. It has been a matter of just continuing. We’ve had some small issues, which have cost a lot of time and they are things that we have learned and need to improve for the future. I want to thank the team for fixing problems every day and I hope we can learn a lot.”