The 2019 Dakar Rally tasked drivers with navigating the endless dunes of the Peruvian desert, and the 2020 edition will be another rather sandy affair
With January’s Dakar Rally fast approaching, Mini has lifted the curtain on the buggy it hopes will carry its drivers to victory. The X-raid Mini John Cooper Works buggy features design tweaks configured especially for the 2020 route, which will take competitors to the sands of Saudi Arabia for the first time.
The off-road race begins on January 5 in the port city of Jeddah, goes onward to the capital of Riyadh and through the country’s famous Rub’ al-Khali desert, known as the “Empty Quarter” for its barren landscape and complete lack of human life. The rally racing world’s most onerous competition will then finish up on the edge of Qiddia 12 days later.
And Mini has just shown off what it believes to be a vehicle fit for purpose. It says the design of the X-raid Mini John Cooper Works buggy has been refined over preceding months, with the final product featuring a shorter front end that will make it faster and smoother over the relentless undulations of the Arabian desert.
The car will be driven by X-raid rally team members and former Dakar champions Stéphane Peterhansel and Carlos Sainz. The Mini X-raid team also confirmed that Peterhansel will be navigated by wife Andrea for the first time, following the pair’s success in winning the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in April.
“In Carlos and Stéphane, we have two drivers who not only have a lot of experience but are also very familiar with the Mini,” says X-raid team owner Sven Quandt. “As such, we should be well equipped to take on the challenges that await us in January. The same goes for the Mini John Copper Works Buggy, which we have continuously developed and tested over the course of the season.”
Source: New Atlas Images: Red Bull Content Pool