MINI came to prominence in international motorsports when it won the famed Monte Carlo Rally in 1966 – and now another page has been added to the MINI racing legend with a victory in the grueling Dakar Rally.
Heavily modified for competition, these cars are distant relatives of the MINIs on sale at Braman MINI in West Palm Beach, but it’s an accomplishment that MINI owners – who are typically much more knowledgeable about all things MINI than the owners of other brands – will take satisfaction in.
Joan “Nani” Roma in the yellow MINI ALL4 Racing has won the 2014 Dakar Rally. The Monster Energy X-raid Team driver finished the toughest rally challenge in the world just 5:32 minutes in front of his teammate Stéphane Peterhansel in the black MINI ALL4 Racing. Nasser Al-Attiyah in the predominantly white MINI ALL4 Racing finished 3rd. The podium was firmly in hand of the MINI cars, which once again proved to be reliable and fast throughout the whole event.
Roma, who has been leading the overall classification at this year’s event for nine days, winning two stages in total, continued: “The MINI ALL4 Racing is a brilliant car and was extremely reliable and quick throughout the whole rally. It was fun to drive! Also a big thank you to my co-driver Michel Périn, who was a great navigator again! A great result for MINI, now it’s time to celebrate!”
The 2014 Dakar Rally was one of the toughest of all time. The 9,374 km-long route led from Rosario across the Andes and the challenging Atacama desert to Valparaíso at the Pacific coast. The drivers had to face a lot of different weather conditions and soils. Gravel in the Andes and a lot of extremely fine sand in the hot Atacama desert. MINI mastered all the challenges and won 11 of the 13 stages. It was the third win in a row since MINI made its debut at the Dakar Rally in 2011.
The great reliability of the MINI ALL4 Racing, which is based on the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman, was underlined by the fact that all eleven cars that had started into the event crossed the finish line in Valparaíso. Seven of them finished in the top-ten, including the ones of Monster Energy X-raid Team Orlando Terranova/Paulo Fiúza, who finished 5th overall, and Krzysztof Holowczyc/Konstantin Zhiltsov, who crossed the line 6th overall.
Though the MINI All4 Racing resembles a MINI Cooper Countryman, the vehicle is actually built around a bespoke chassis and powered by a diesel engine developed by BMW Motorsport. The engine is a 3.0-liter turbodiesel delivering 310 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, and the vehicle’s top speed is around 112 mph.