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The X-Raid Mini JCW Buggy, specially prepped for Dakar 2020, will be piloted by Stephane Peterhansel and Carlos Sainz
After ten events in South America, the Dakar rally’s first sojourn in Saudi Arabia will be met with X-Raid’s rally-prepped Mini John Cooper Works Buggy piloted by Carlos Sainz (Spain) and Stephane Peterhansel (France). Sainz has already won the Dakar twice in the past – most recently in 2018, and is aiming for a third win with the X-Raid Mini JCW Buggy.
Before switching to off-road racing, Sainz had won the World Rally Championship on two occasions (1990 and 1992) and will be accompanied by long-term co-driver Lucas Cruz (Spain) for the Dakar 2020.
For teammate Stephane Peterhansel, the Dakar 2020 will be a very special one, as his wife Andrea will navigate for him at this event for the first time. The husband-wife duo won this year’s Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (in the X-Raid Mini JCW Rally) and finished second place in Kazakhstan, a mere six minutes behind leader Naseer Al Attiyah. As such, “the Peterhansels” still have a chance of taking overall victory in the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies, as they are currently second in the table, nine points off the lead.
Peterhansel claimed the first Dakar victory for X-raid in 2012, at the wheel of a Mini ALL4 Racing, repeating the feat a year later. Overall, he has won the Dakar rally 13 times, six times on motorcycles and the remaining seven on four wheels.
The Dakar 2020 will start on January 5, 2020 in the port of Jeddah. From there, the route runs through the north of the country to the capital Riyadh, for a rest day. The second part of the rally sees the Dakar caravan head to the south – to the so-called ‘Empty Quarter’, with the finish and podium ceremony to be held on January 17 in Al Qiddia, a city 40 kilometres from Riyadh.
The X-Raid Mini JCW buggy is powered by a 3-litre turbo-diesel (based on a BMW production engine) driving the rear wheels and mated to a six-speed with integrated differential, making 350bhp and 770Nm of torque. The chassis is tubular steel frame construction created by German firm Heggemann, and had undergone further improvements in preparation for the battle for a fifth Dakar victory for X-raid. The most visible is the shorter front overhang, which X-raid claims will make the buggy faster in the dunes.
Speaking about the team’s Dakar 2020 aspirations, Sven Quandt, founder and MD, X-Raid, said both Carlos and Stephane not only have a lot of experience, but are also very familiar with the Mini, and hence are well equipped to take on the challenges that await them in January.
About the Mini John Cooper Works buggy, he laid emphasis on its development and testing, which are to continue throughout the duration of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies, and till the Dakar rally itself.