The 2016 Dakar Rally has now come to a finish, with a MINI ALL4 Racing vehicle taking the top four wheel drive ranking. Four MINI ALL4 Racing ranked in the top ten positions overall and seven in the top 15.
Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar and his co-pilot Mathieu Baumel (France) finished the Rally as “best placed” all-wheel drive car. General ranking results show Stéphane Peterhansel as the quickest man overall in category albeit in a Peugeot. In the meantime, AXION X-raid Team driver Al-Attiyah is listed as finishing second. The result of an appeal will determine the full and official result.
Al-Attiyah and Baumel drove a grueling 9000km race in the #300 MINI ALL4 Racing, to win the battle of the 4x4 vehicles, in particular against a tenacious effort by Toyota. Al-Attiyah and Baumel won two stages , ensuring the outcome would be a MINI ALL4 Racing at the front of the pack.
Says Al-Attiyah, “To finish on the podium was really nice but I believe in myself to come back in 2017 and win again. I think it was possible to win without our one mistake, but this is Dakar - a two-week race – and everybody can make mistake; most of the best drivers make a mistake but we finished on the podium.”
Additional celebrating can take place within the MINI ALL4 Racing family. Former World Rally Championship star and now Axion X-raid Team driver Mikko Hirvonen (Finland) completed his Dakar debut in the top five. Hirvonen, along with co-driver Michel Périn (France) also achieved a fantastic stage win in the 13 stage Dakar race.
Says Hirvonen: “I’m really happy to be here at the finish line; a fantastic two weeks and everything worked just perfectly. The car was running well, the team did a fantastic job and with Michel everything went perfectly as well, so overall a fantastic experience.”
Spanish drivers Joan ‘Nani’ Roma and Alex Haro (AXION X-raid Team #304) also grabbed a 2016 Dakar top ten position in their AXION X-raid MINI ALL4 Racing. Bad luck placed them deep in a mud hole for over 45 minutes to knock them a few places back in the overall standings. To complete Dakar in the top ten after such a setback really requires the driver and crew to draw on all of their skills.
“It’s a really strange feeling to be here at the finish line,” said Roma. “Obviously it wasn’t my goal when I come here to fight for this position, but it was really hard. A positive point is the work with Alex, he made a good job.”
The fourth and last MINI ALL4 Racing that made the top ten was that driven by another Dakar rookie, Harry Hunt (Great Britain) and Andreas Schulz (Germany), also driving for X-raid.
Orlando Terranova and co-driver Bernardo ‘Ronnie’ Graue (both from Argentina) driving for AXION X-raid Team also had to work hard to salvage a top 15 finish. They were also victim to the deep mud that slowed down teammates Roma and Haro.
The Dutch MINI ALL4 Racing duo of Erik van Loon and Wouter Rosegaar driving for Van Loon Racing, also managed a top 15 spot despite their own early setbacks due to some of the wettest Dakar weather on record.
Former cross-country bike Dakar racer Jakub ‘Kuba’ Przygonski (Poland) and Andrei Rudnitski (Belarus) of ORLEN Team also managed a top 15 finish for the MINI ALL4 Racing family. An impressive feat for a privately run team, and a good demonstration of the sheer ability of the MINI ALL4 Racing platform.
Three other MINI ALL4 Racing vehicles successfully completed the 2016 Dakar Rally:
Boris Garafulic (Chile) and Filipe Palmeiro (Portugal), X-raid Team; Nazareno Lopez (Argentina) and Sergio Lafuente (Uruguay) X-raid Team; Adam Malysz (Poland) and Xavier Panseri (France) of ORLEN Racing.
The Dakar rally shows time and time again how quickly it can destroy men and machines.The fact that 10 competing MINI ALL4 Racing vehicles finished Dakar is a testament to its quality of design and durability.
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