MINI Motorsport partner X-raid has announced the addition of three rally raid legends to the growing MINI Family set to compete at the 2019 edition of the Dakar.
Cyril Despres (FR), Stéphane Peterhansel (FR) and Carlos Sainz (SP) have between them amassed an incredible 20 Dakar wins and now look to increase this remarkable tally with each electing to drive a MINI John Cooper Works Buggy under the team banner of X-raid MINI JCW Team .
Devised and built by X-raid, MINI John Cooper Works Buggy first saw racing action at the 2018 Dakar. Now honed to the latest specification, this is the latest MINI Motorsport racing tool that Cyril Despres, Stéphane Peterhansel and Carlos Sainz will compete with in order to win Dakar.
Cyril Despres has won the Dakar five times on motorcycles (2005, 2007, 2010, 2012, 2013) before taking to four-wheels in 2015. In less than three years he has already achieved four-wheel rally success, the most notable is twice winning the arduous Silk Way Rally (2016, 2017). Despres and Carlos Sainz will be the first of the three drivers from X-raid MINI JCW Team to taste race action in the MINI John Cooper Works Buggy by competing in Rallye du Maroc (3rd-9th October 2018), round 10 of the 2018 FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup.
Stéphane Peterhansel carries the nickname “Mr Dakar” for 13 very good reasons – 13 is the number of times the Frenchman has won Dakar. Like so many Dakar greats, Peterhansel began his Dakar career on two-wheels and achieved six wins before switching to cars to claim a further seven Dakar titles. Peterhansel is no stranger to the winning ways of MINI. In 2012, he won Dakar at the controls of a MINI ALL4 Racing. It was in the same legendary car that he defended his Dakar title the following year.
Carlos Sainz is the reigning Dakar champion. 2018 was the second year “El Matador” drove to Dakar victory and, by all accounts, the celebrations were as emotional as his first success in 2010. Defence of his Dakar title will start with his first official competitive race in the MINI John Cooper Works Buggy in Morocco, where he and Despres will gather machine development data ahead of the 2019 Dakar.