When Stéphane Peterhansel climbs into the driver's seat of his MINI ALL4 Racing, you would never know that he has had a good six-month break since winning the Rally Dakar in January. It all looks as natural as ever. And anyone who has been watching Stéphane prepare for the Baja Spain over the last few days will have seen that the man with the record number of Dakar wins to his name is back in competition mode. "I can hardly wait to contest another rally in the MINI ALL4 Racing," said Stéphane, who announced the extension of his contract with the X-raid team in mid-May and also confirmed that he would be defending his title at the 2013 Dakar. His start at the Baja Spain is the first step on the road to the Dakar.
The fourth round of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies opens up with three special stages and a so-called super special between Friday and Sunday in the city of Saragossa in northern Spain. In total, 506.16 kilometres are against the clock and Stéphane arrives with good memories of the event. "The stages on the Baja Spain may not be very long," he says, "but the event has something about it. I drove my first rally for the X-raid team here in 2009." One year later, Stéphane celebrated the overall victory at the Baja Spain. Although this year's outing in Spain is primarily about preparing for the Rally Dakar, he will be aiming for nothing less than a second victory.
As well as Stéphane's MINI ALL4 Racing, which will once again be in the same green livery as it won the Dakar in, MINI will have a second representative in Spain. Khalifa Al Mutaiwei will also line up in a MINI ALL4 Racing. He won the World Cup for the X-raid team back in 2004 and finds himself in a promising position again this year. Khalifa is currently second in the overall standings, behind France's Jean-Louis Schlesser. His goal for Spain is to defend his position and put pressure on Schlesser, as the race for the World Cup is far from over. Another four rounds are scheduled after the Baja Spain.
Nani Roma, who won the Baja Spain in 2009, is not in Spain this year. The team-mate of Stéphane and Khalifa is already in South America, where he is preparing for the Desafío Litoral, which this year forms part of the Dakar Series and is held in the border region between Argentina and Brazil. Strictly speaking, the Desafío Litoral has nothing in common with the Baja Spain. However, it is Nani's next step towards the 2013 Rally Dakar, where he will be hoping to back up the excellent second place he achieved in January this year – in a MINI ALL4 Racing, of course.
You can find updates from the Baja Spain at Twitter.com/MINImotorsport and Facebook.com/MINImotorsport.
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.