The Mini Countryman entered in the 2012 Dakar Rally is far from stock (few vehicles entered in the event are), but the burly-looking rally car left its competition in the dust, as it emerged victorious from the grueling journey this past weekend.
Built by German tuning company X-raid, the pumped-up Countryman All4 measures 9 inches longer, 16 inches taller, and 8 inches wider than a stock, street-legal Countryman. Under the hood is a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged I-6 -- seemingly one der that's sourced from BMW -- paired to a six-speed sequential transmission, and maximum output is rated at 311 hp and 516 lb-ft of of torque. X-raid also thoroughly re-worked the Mini's suspension and added water-cooled rear brakes along with a roll cage. A long-range 110-gallon fuel tank was also added.
At the helm of the heavily-modified Countryman was French driver Stephane Peterhansel and co -driver Jean-Paul Cottret. Although Peterhansel is no stranger to Dakar victories (this is his 10th), it was a first for the Monster Energy X-raid team. “We finally have achieved our long-awaited goal: our first win in the Dakar Rally,” said Monster Energy X-raid Team Manager Sven Quandt. But that's not all the team is celebrating: All five Countryman vehicles entered by the German team made it to the top 10. Teammates Nani Roma and Michel Perin, also driving a Countryman, were the runners-up, beating out tough competitors like Toyota and Hummer.
The 5500- mile 2012 Dakar rally started on New Year's Day in Argentina, crossed through Chile, and ended in Peru on January 15.
Source: BMW, Autocar