Mini Countryman Takes Top Spot in 2012 Dakar Rally

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