By Ronan Glon
Sunday, Jan 20th, 2013 @ 3:18 am
 
After two weeks of racing, French pilot St├ęphane Peterhansel and co-pilot Jean-Paul Cottret have won the 2013 edition of the Dakar Rally in a heavily-modified MINI Countryman ALL4. The podium finish marks MINI's second Dakar victory and Peterhansel's eleventh career win, a record for the race.

Held in South America for the fifth consecutive time, the 2013 edition of the grueling race took competitors 5,000 miles through Peru, Argentina and Chile while crossing harsh terrain such as the Andes mountain range and the Acatama Desert, widely regarded as one of the driest areas of the world.

Peterhansel finished the race in just 38 hours, 32 minutes and 39 seconds. Second place in the car category was awarded to Giniel de Villier and his Toyota Hilux and Leonid Novistky drove a Countryman ALL4 to third place.

The Dakar-winning MINI was designed to look like a Countryman but the two share virtually no parts. The Kevlar-bodied 4,188-pound race car is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter turbodiesel engine that is linked to a six-speed sequential gearbox built by Sadev. Rated at 307 horsepower and 516 lb-ft. of torque, the six-cylinder mill enables the MINI to reach a top speed of 110 mph, which is plenty in a race where endurance and off-road ability are more important than all-out speed.

All photos courtesy of X-Raid Team.