First debut at the Rallye du Maroc
The start of the 2019 Dakar Rally in Lima is just three months away. To ensure that they have the best hand in the battle for victory, X-raid has added three big names to its ranks: Carlos Sainz, Stéphane Peterhansel and Cyril Despres switch to the German team, for whom they will each drive a MINI John Cooper Works Buggy! As such, there will be a total of 20 Dakar victories at the steering wheel of the three cars, which were designed and assembled by X-raid. Peterhansel is the record Dakar winner, with 13 victories in total on motorcycles and in cars. Sainz has two wins to his name, while Despres has won five Dakar Rallies on a motorcycle.
Sainz and Despres will make their debuts in the new car at the Rallye du Maroc, which gets underway on 4th October with the prologue in Fez, Morocco!
In Carlos Sainz, the reigning Dakar champion switches to the MINI John Cooper Works Buggy. The Spaniard clinched his second victory in January, having previously triumphed in 2010. “El Matador” is one of the biggest names in rallying and has his sights set on win number three in 2019. Before he switched to off-road racing, Sainz was twice crowned World Rally Champion (1990, 1992).
The Rallye du Maroc will be the first official outing in the MINI John Cooper Works Buggy for Sainz and Despres. Sainz lines up alongside his long-term co-driver Lucas Cruz, while Despres will put his faith in the navigational skills of Frenchman Jean-Paul Cottret.
The X-raid team has worked hard on the further development of the MINI John Cooper Works Buggy in recent months. The car has completed thousands of test kilometres in Morocco and Europe, in order to ensure that it is competitive at the 2019 Dakar. As well as achieving a significant weight reduction, other components of the buggy have been optimised. The team has taken a big step forward, particularly in terms of the electronics, and has improved the performance of the car.
“A new team, a new car, and with them a new challenge. I am very optimistic that we will master this challenge. We are well prepared. I love the challenge of working with, developing and getting the best out of a new car. That is always exciting. We have worked very hard so far and the MINI has taken a big step forward. I am happy with the car and we still have time to develop it further.”