X-Raid Mini Countryman All4 Racing – Click above for high-res image gallery
So much for the maxi Mini. The X-Raid Countryman rally raider, whose development we've been following from the get-go, was forced out of the Dakar rally over the weekend, ending the rally-prepped Mini's campaign even faster than it started.
With French rally driver Guerlain Chicherit behind the wheel, the Mini Dakar had gotten up as high as ninth place overall by the sixth stage on Friday. But when the convoy came to a rest on Saturday, Chicherit took the opportunity to get in some practice runs and reportedly got into a big crash that sent the car tumbling end-over-end. Chicherit sustained a minor head injury, as rally medical personnel monitored his condition at the on-site medical center.
While the Mini is out of the running, this year's rally is far from over for the X-Raid team as one of their BMWs – driven by Stephane Peterhansel – is running third behind the Volkswagens of Carlos Sainz and Nasser Al-Attiyah.