Update1 – MINI Takes DAKAR Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad

Update 1

June 17, 2014

Okay, so this race was in January 2014.

Which makes this is bit of a late update.

But here is the short version: MINI dominated the 2014 Dakar Rally, winning its third title in three years.

I’d be willing to wager that when the MINI crossover was born and christened a few years ago, it thought the Countryman name meant things like hiking, biking, rafting or just being near the woods.

All4 DAKAR GiF9999999999

But now: Countryman has become “What Country Are We In?” via the long-range Dakar rally in South America starting January 5th, 2014.

MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 35 MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 32

This is not solely a marketing exercise: the All4 Racing team dethroned the Touareg VW team’s victory run in 2012, snagging the top spot with these hardy little racers.

MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 29

Versus the Kamaz 4911 that dominates the T4 Dakar truck class, the MINI All4 Racing crew runs in the largest and most popular “car” class – with stiff competition. This is the class won four times by the Peugeot 205 and 405 T16, and the Porsche 959SC before that.

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There is flexibility in the rule-book of Dakar, allowing serious prototype engineering mules to be ‘stickered up’ and sent out. These are not factory machines, or even silhouette racers like a stock car series. As evidenced by the Touareg VW’s: winning sometimes means adding factory SUV nameplate as the last style accessory.

Ronan Chabot drives in the desert during the preparations of Dakar 2014 in Arfoud, Morocco, on October 10th, 2013

In short, the VW entrants were clearly nothing even close to a Touareg. The new (competing) entry from the Red Bull Desert Wings team is branded a Toyota Hilux, but you can decide for yourself…

MINI All4 Racing is just as hardcore in terms of the tech under those carbon-fiber fender flares, but really did a better job connecting the race cars with the street cars.

MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 22 MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 7

A final bonus? It looks like the MINI All4 has really got “the hops” out there in the dunes. This car can jump!!

If the Chicago Bulls Three-Peat is anything to go by, the drivers will be doing their best Michael Jordan tongue-out look as they take flight.

MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 34

But hang on fellas, biting your own tongue off in remote Peru or Chile would not be a fun experience.

Everything else about the All4 Racing program is a total joy, however.

Enjoy these galleries, with the special edition All4 study shown as well as the race cars.

 

The All4 Dakar Race Cars

MINI ALL4 Racing;Stéphane; Peterhansel; Jean; Paul;Cottret MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 24 MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 25 MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 26 MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 27 MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 28 MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 29 MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 30 MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 32 MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 33 MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 34 MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 35 MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 39 MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 41 MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 42 MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 43 MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 45 MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 46 MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 47 MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 48

The All4 Dakar Drivers

MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 21 MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 22 MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 31 MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 36 MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 37 MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 38 MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 40 MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 44 MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 49

The All4 Road Car Special Edition

MINI Poised for Dakar Three-Peat with All4 Countryman Squad 2      All4 DAKAR GiF9999999999