> “El Matador” and “Mister Dakar” start for X-raid at the Dakar 2021
> First test will be followed by preparation rallies in Europe and the Middle East
Experience and consistency are the key factors for a Dakar winner. With Carlos Sainz and Stéphane Peterhansel, X-raid can count on two drivers with these qualities at the same time. As in the past two years, current Dakar winner Sainz and “Mister Dakar” Stéphane Peterhansel will be at the wheel of the MINI John Cooper Works. Both drivers will compete in the Andalucía Rally next week.
Sainz lines up alongside his long-term co-driver and compatriot Lucas Cruz. This successful duo has won the Dakar three times together. Last time this January together with X-raid. Peterhansel will go in search of Dakar win number 14 alongside fellow Frenchman Edouard Boulanger. ‘Mister Dakar’ and Boulanger started together for the first time at the Baja Poland, where they promptly picked up their first win.
Sainz and Peterhansel have been driving successfully the X-raid MINI John Cooper Works Buggy since 2018. As well as competing in various rallies, the two experienced drivers are also heavily involved in the further development of the vehicles. This development has been limited somewhat by the coronavirus this year, but the engineers and mechanics at X-raid have not been idle. They took a close look at the MINI JCW Buggy and were able to improve it even further this year. At the end of August, after a long time away, Sainz and Peterhansel were finally able to get back behind the wheel for a test.
The big goal is obviously the Dakar 2021. The rally once again runs through Saudi Arabia from 3rd to 15th of January. The start and finish location is the port of Jeddah, while the rest day will be taken in Ha’il. Before the Dakar, the plan for Sainz and Peterhansel is to compete in the Rally Andalucia and another one in the Middle East in preparation for the main event.
Team manager Sven Quandt: “Carlos and Stéphane are a great combination for us. They are not only very fast, but also work well together. But also personally it is a nice cooperation with both of them and also with Lucas and Edouard. We are very happy that both drivers are going to compete for X-raid again, even if it is not an easy preparation for the Dakar.”
Carlos Sainz: “I am looking forward to competing again together with X-raid at the upcoming Dakar. Of course I will try to defend my victory of 2020. Now that some time has passed, I must say that this is one of my victories of which I am very proud. The upcoming Dakar will certainly be another great event – after this year’s experience – probably even better. Concerning the MINI JCW Buggy, despite the difficult time we were able to find some areas that we could improve on. The team has done a great job and I think we have become even better.”
Stéphane Peterhansel: “I am looking forward to being part of the X-raid team again at the upcoming Dakar. I couldn’t win the last Dakar, but I still have good memories of it: The team spirit was great and the Buggy was also very good to drive. I was really happy about my third place. My motivation is still there – maybe even more so as I know that the Buggy will be even better. I have a new co-pilot sitting next to me and I think Edouard has a lot of potential that he can certainly exploit to the fullesr at the Dakar. I am also very much looking forward to Saudi Arabia – the landscape there is simply incredible.”