The mini ALL4 Racing team remains as Dakar Rally champion after dominating the14-day event. The vehicle designed and built by X-raid celebrated its fourth consecutive win in the legendary event, this year. Nasser Al-Attiyah, representing the Qatar Rally Team, follows the footsteps of Stephane Peterhansel and Nani Roma by crossing the podium as the winner. In addition, a total of four Mini ALL4 Racing vehicles secured top-five positions, six made it to the top 10 and eight to the top 20.
Third place, behind the Toyota of Giniel de Villiers, was secured by the Monster Energy Rally Raid Team pairing Krzysztof Holowczyc and Xavier Panseri. Right behind them, the Dutchmen Erik van Loon and Wouter Rosegaar, and the Russians Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov in the VRT-Mini ALL4 Racing finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
The 2015 Dakar winners, Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel, celebrated a total of five of the possible 13 stage wins. The driver from Qatar took the lead as early as day two, and defended it throughout the event. The Skeet Shooting Bronze Medalist in the London Olympics knew exactly when to push and when to back off, this year. As a result, he arrived in every bivouac with an undamaged Mini ALL4 Racing. “I’m virtually over the moon and just want to enjoy this day,” beamed Al-Attiyah. “I’ve got a lot of Dakar experience under my belt, in the meantime, and therefore I only and fully focused on the respective day. And this approach was the key to our success. If you had a bad day you just have to forget it to not lose your focus.”
After several difficult years, Monster Energy Rally Raid Team driver Holowczyc finally made it to the Dakar podium, this year. In August, he opted for cooperating with a new navigator: it was the first Dakar for Xavier Panseri but the Frenchman has got several WRC successes under his belt. In late August, in the Baja Poland, the pairing made its first and only joint appearance to date and only in Buenos Aires they were back in the cockpit of the Mini ALL4 Racing. Nonetheless, their collaboration worked well right from the start and was rewarded with a podium. “I’m so happy, I just can’t find the words to describe how I feel,” beamed Holowczyc. “After 10 years in the Dakar I finally made it to the podium.”
Van Loon and Rosegaar mainly convinced with their consistency, this year. Seven times, the Dutch pairing secured a top-10 result and in the end, this consistency resulted in fourth place. “What a fantastic result,” said Van Loon. “We came here to try to secure a top-10 result and now, we finished fourth. That’s a result I really didn’t expect. This Dakar was rather tough, particularly during the first days. But to be honest, it just can’t be tough enough, for me.”
Vasilyev and Zhiltsov also succeeded in shining several times, this year, with the win in stage five, from Copiapo to Antofagasta, representing the highlight for them. Navigator Zhiltsov had detected a legal shortcut and so, the MINI ALL4 Racing could take the lead. And in the penultimate stage, from Termas de Rio Hondo to Rosario, the Russians came second. “We had a great rally,” Zhiltsov said beaming. “Yes, there were things that didn’t run perfectly but you can call our 2015 Dakar nearly perfect, nevertheless. Having finished fifth is just great.”
“The Mini ALL4 Racing once again succeeded in convincing to the max. Four Mini racers in the top five is another sensational result. With our experience and our good preparation we prevailed against our really strong competitors. You couldn’t expect to achieve far more, in a Dakar. Nasser did everything the right way, this year, and used his own wits. That’s the approach that gave him the win,” said Sven Quandt, CEO of X-Raid GmbH.