It is now just around 40 days until the Dakar Rally gets started in Peru and the cars have already arrived in the French port of Le Havre, from where they will travel by ship to South America. In addition to the three MINI John Cooper Works Buggies and Nani Roma’s MINI John Cooper Works Rally, a further four four-wheel drive cars make up the X-raid contingent. Their top-class crews: 2018 World Cup champions Jakub ‘Kuba’ Przygonski (POL) and Tom Colsoul (BEL), Silk Way Rally winners Yazeed Al-Rajhi (KSA) and Timo Gottschalk (GER), the winners of the Inca Rally in Peru, Orlando Terranova and Ronnie Graue (both ARG), and Boris Garafulic (CHI) and Filipe Palmeiro (POR). Between them, they have racked up ten wins in 2018 in a MINI built by X-raid.
After finishing second in the 2017 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, Przygonski and Colsoul went one better this year and claimed the prestigious title, winning four of the nine rounds in their MINI JCW Rally. The Pole is now looking forward to mounting an assault on the Dakar: “My goal for January is to do better than I did at the 2018 Dakar. I finished 15th in my first Dakar, seventh in 2017 and fifth last year. Tom and I are quick and have found a good rhythm over the course of the season. We have completed a lot of kilometres in recent months and are ready for the fight.”
Al-Rajhi and Gottschalk have also enjoyed a very successful year: two rallies – two wins! First at the Rally Kazakhstan, then later at the Silk Way Rally in Russia. After driving a buggy in last year’s Dakar, the Saudi driver returns to the wheel of the MINI JCW Rally.
Terranova and Graue can also look back on a successful season. The two Argentineans won the Desafío Inca, giving them a small advantage in terms of experience of driving the dunes in Peru.
Garafulic will contest his eighth Dakar with X-raid in 2019. He was very unfortunate at the start of last year’s rally but was able to battle his way back into 13th place. Whilst he has not driven in a rally this season, he is extremely motivated ahead of the trip to Peru.
Team manager Sven Quandt:
“We have an impressive line-up in our MINI John Cooper Rally cars. Nani has already won the Dakar once with us and Kuba is very determined after his World Cup win. He has learned a lot this season and matured as a driver. He is certainly capable of causing the odd upset. And you underestimate Yazeed and Orly at your peril. They are both very quick and, if they avoid any problems, are potential top-five drivers. We have worked together with Boris for a long time. I hope he makes it into the top ten this time.”
Source: X-raid press release