The Dakar Rally is making its return from January 4th to 17th 2015 and this time it will be coming to South America.
Competitors will follow a 9,111 kilometre loop, taking them through Chile, Bolivia and Argentina. They will come up against the heights of the Andes, the heat of the Atacama Desert and will face dust and tricky dunes along the way.
No matter how much study of each stage and preparation that drivers and co-drivers undergo, there are likely to be a lot of unforeseen obstacles. What’s more, drivers and teams start competition days long before sunrise and finish way after dusk. Rest and sleep are rare.
Some stages are new, while others are reintroduced and on some drivers will not be able to rely on the support of their teams. Here, they will have to overcome the challenges that they face completely on their own.
The 2015 rally is considered by many to be the toughest one since Dakar was moved from Africa to South America.
Last year’s winners were Joan “Nani” Roma from Spain and his French co-driver Michel Perin, who claimed victory at the 2014 Dakar while sitting behind the wheel of the Mini All4 Racing. They are entering again this year with Mini to try to retain their title. Mini and its Mini All4 Racing car has been the winner of the long-distance rally since 2012.
Senior vice president of Mini Jochen Goller said: “The Dakar Rally is the ultimate challenge for all drivers and teams, making it one of the most enthralling events in the world of motorsport. Mini has taken on this unique challenge with great success in recent years and has played a major role in the history of the rally.”
“All of the drivers and co-drivers that will embark on the 9,000 kilometre trek through the heart of South America love doing things a little bit differently. In this sense, they share an exciting parallel with out Mini customers on the roads.”
Talking about how to win the rally, Mr Goller said that drivers have to work as a strong unit and that the team has to be professional. They cannot simply relax and be confident about victory.
He said that Mini is up to the challenge and that the Mini All4 Racing has been refined further since its win in the 2014 Dakar Rally. The car has performed well in the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies and Mr Goller says it is headed for its third consecutive win.
Throughout the refining process, technology has been added to optimise the Mini All4 Racing. Additionally, it has got an international team behind it of ten driver pairings. These are led by Dakar winner Roma.
Dakar’s competition stages cover over 4,500 kilometres in total and some of these are up to 518 kilometres in length. What’s more, a further 4,500 kilometres is covered with teams travelling from one finish line to the next start line, with hundreds of tons of equipment going with them.
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