It was the best start to a year in the history of the X-raid team: Stéphane Peterhansel won the Rally Dakar in mid January to achieve his team principal's dream of emerging victorious from the toughest rally in the world. "It was the long-awaited victory for us. Winning the Dakar is very special," says X-raid Team Principal Sven Quandt, who even now cannot hide his delight.
The X-raid team was lining up at its tenth Rally Dakar, and finally claimed its first overall victory. Stéphane Peterhansel guided the green MINI ALL4 Racing with start number 302 safely to first place. And as if that were not enough, Peterhansel's team-mate Nani Roma finished runner-up in his MINI to complete a remarkable one-two for the X-raid team and MINI at the 2012 Dakar.
Although it is five weeks since that major triumph, the X-raid team has only now been reunited at the team headquarters in Trebur-Astheim near Frankfurt am Main. The crew did travel straight back to Europe after the victory celebrations at the Dakar finish in Lima, Peru. Only now, however, have the MINI ALL4 Racings joined them. It took almost four weeks for the sealed cars to travel by ship to Le Havre in France, and then on by truck to Germany.
What happens now to the MINI ALL4 Racings? The X-raid team has already cleared up the question of whether to return Stéphane Peterhansel's victorious MINI to the garage or put it in a gilt frame. "The car will shortly be presented to the public before being put on show in a worthy place," says Team Manager Thomas Quandt.
Before then, however, the X-raid team has something special up its sleeve. "Under the motto 'Welcome Back', the team will throw a huge homecoming party at its headquarters in Trebur-Astheim to thank the fans for their magnificent support throughout the 2012 Rally Dakar," says Thomas Quandt. "The MINI ALL4 Racings will be on display there and we will be erecting a bivouac, just as it was at the Dakar, to give the fans a look behind the scenes."
Stéphane Peterhansel and Nani Roma have already confirmed they will be at the fan party. The celebration offers an unmissable opportunity for anyone wanting to congratulate the reigning Dakar champion and runner-up, or to pose for a signed photo in front of the MINI ALL4 Racing. The Dakar heroes will be within touching distance before the X-raid team heads into the new season.
The first round of the 2012 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies gets underway on 15th March at the Baja Italia, at which the X-raid team will also line up. Outings are also planned at the remaining nine races of the season. Which drivers will compete at which events is still in the planning stages. One thing is as good as certain though: it will not take fans long to spot the MINI ALL4 Racing at the World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, as the team sets out again on the long route to the 2013 Dakar.
The X-raid team is out to extend its winning run at the Baja Poland. Khalifa Al Mutaiwei is aiming to extend his lead in the World Cup. Krzysztof Holowczyc is confident ahead of his home event.
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The X-raid team is taking its next step towards the 2013 Rally Dakar at the Baja Spain. The event is also Stéphane Peterhansel's first start since his Dakar victory in January.
Ultimate cornering, breathtaking acceleration.
A good five weeks after the X-raid team's one-two at the Rally Dakar, the victorious MINI ALL4 Racing cars have finally returned to the team's headquarters. This is the signal for the big homecoming party to begin.
A car built for victory. The MINI John Cooper Works Challenge races across the track at 240 km/h.
Experience MINI John Cooper Works.