Mini at the 2014 Dakar Rally

Motor racing is often overcome by dominant forces. In Formula One these days, it's all about Red Bull. Le Mans is absolutely dominated by Audi. Citroën devastated the World Rally Championship for years. And the Dakar Rally is no exception to that particular rule, either.

The Mitsubishi Pajero won the event seven years in a row and many times before that. Then Volkswagen took the lead, winning three years running with competition-spec Touaregs once the rally shifted from North Africa to South America in 2009. But these days it's Mini that dominates.

The Mini All4 Racing team won in 2012, again in 2013 and has just won it again for 2014. Not only did it win again, but it took a devastating 1-2-3 finish to lock out the podium. Over the course of 13 days, Minis won 11 out of 13 of the total stages that make up the grueling rally, at the end of which Nasser Al-Attiyah crossed the line in third, Stéphane Peterhansel finished second, and just five minutes ahead of him, Nani Roma crossed the finish line in Valparaíso in first place. (Of course it didn't hurt that there were no fewer than 11 Minis entered in this year's rally, but still.)

It wouldn't have been the first win for any of the three of them, either: Al-Attiyah won the rally for VW in 2011, Peterhansel has won no fewer than eleven times (including the last two for Mini), and Roma won in 2004 – but in the motorcycle category riding a KTM (as has exclusively been the case for the last 13 years).

Marc Coma won the motorcycle class this year on (you guessed it) a KTM, a trio of Russians took the truck category in a Kamaz and Ignacio Casale won the Quad trophy on a Yamaha. Unfortunately things didn't go as well this year for Belgian rider Eric Palante, who never made it to the finish line - or for the two fans who were killed while following the rally in their own vehicle.
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Joan "Nani" Roma wins the 2014 Dakar Rally // Three MINI ALL4 Racing cars on the podium.

Munich (DE). He has done it! Joan "Nani" Roma (ES) in the yellow MINI ALL4 Racing has won the 2014 Dakar Rally. The Monster Energy X-raid Team driver finished the toughest rally challenge in the world just 5:32 minutes in front of his teammate Stéphane Peterhansel (FR) in the black MINI ALL4 Racing. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QT) in the predominantly white MINI ALL4 Racing finished 3rd. The podium was firmly in hand of the MINI cars, which once again proved to be reliable and fast throughout the whole event.

It was the first win for Nani Roma in a car at the Dakar Rally. The Spaniard had already won the event on a motorbike when it was still held in North Africa in 2004. "I'm so relieved and happy," Roma said. "It was my big goal to win the Dakar not only on a motorbike but also in a car. A dream came true for me and I want to thank everybody at X-raid and MINI for their great work!"

Roma, who has been leading the overall classification at this year's event for nine days, winning two stages in total, continued: "The MINI ALL4 Racing is a brilliant car and was extremely reliable and quick throughout the whole rally. It was fun to drive! Also a big thank you to my co-driver Michel Périn, who was a great navigator again! A great result for MINI, now it's time to celebrate!"

The 2014 Dakar Rally was one of the toughest of all time. The 9,374 km-long route led from Rosario (AR) across the Andes and the challenging Atacama desert to Valparaíso (CL) at the Pacific coast. The drivers had to face a lot of different weather conditions and soils. Gravel in the Andes and a lot of extremely fine sand in the hot Atacama desert. MINI mastered all the challenges and won 11 of the 13 stages. It was the third win in a row since MINI made its debut at the Dakar Rally in 2011.

The great reliability of the MINI ALL4 Racing, which is based on the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman, was underlined by the fact that all eleven cars that had started into the event crossed the finish line in Valparaíso. Seven of them finished in the top-ten, including the ones of Monster Energy X-raid Team Orlando Terranova/Paulo Fiúza (AR/PT), who finished 5th overall, and Krzysztof Holowczyc/Konstantin Zhiltsov (PL/RU), who crossed the line 6th overall.

MINI at the 2014 Dakar Rally.

A total of eleven MINI ALL4 Racing compete in the 2014 Dakar. All are based on the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman, modified by the factory-supported X-raid Team to meet the high demands of the Dakar Rally which is today's pinnacle of off-road motorsports. With a combination of power, reliability and efficiency the MINI ALL4 Racing proved its competiveness right from its first Dakar start in 2011 while also winning the hearts of the fans from the word go.

On only its second Dakar appearance, the MINI ALL4 Racing made the big breakthrough by winning the 2012 Dakar Rally. In 2013 the MINI brand proved that its Dakar success was no flash in the pan by defending its title at the first attempt. This year, the X-raid Team and the MINI brand are aiming at clinching their third consecutive Dakar title when the 2014 Dakar ends in Valparaiso, Chile, on 18th January.

2014 Dakar MINI Driver Lineup.

#300 MINI ALL4 Racing.
Monster Energy X-raid Team
Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret (FR/FR)

#301 MINI ALL4 Racing.
X-raid Team
Nasser Al-Attiyah/Lucas Cruz (QT/ES)

#304 MINI ALL4 Racing.
Monster Energy X-raid Team
Joan "Nani" Roma/Michel Périn (ES/FR)

#307 MINI ALL4 Racing.
Monster Energy X-raid Team
Orlando Terranova/Paulo Fiúza (AR/PT)

#309 MINI ALL4 Racing.
Monster Energy X-raid Team
Krzysztof Holowczyc/Konstantin Zhiltsov (PL/RU)

#314 MINI ALL4 Racing.
X-raid Team
Vladimir Vasilyev/Vitaliy Yevtyekhov (RU/RU)

#317 MINI ALL4 Racing.
X-raid Team
Boris Garafulic/Gilles Picard (CL/FR)

#319 MINI ALL4 Racing.
X-raid Team
Zhou Yong/Pan Hong Yu (CN/CN)

#330 MINI ALL4 Racing.
X-raid Team
Federico Villagra/Jorge Perez Companc (AR/AR)

#332 MINI ALL4 Racing.
X-raid Team.
Martin Kaczmarski/Filipe Palmeiro (PL/PT)

#337 MINI ALL4 Racing.
X-raid Team
Stephan Schott/Holm Schmidt (DE/DE)