Motorsport in its various forms tends to be characterized by eras of domination: Red Bull in F1 , Audi at Le Mans , Citroën and now Volkswagen in the WRC .
That’s certainly the case with the Dakar Rally. After years of domination at the hands of the Mitsubishi Pajero, the Volkswagen Touareg won the famous rally raid three years running.
But these days, it’s all about Mini .
The Anglo-Saxon team won the Dakar three years running, locking out the podium last year in positively dominant style.
And now it’s won again.
After some 5,600 miles spanning three countries across South America, the Mini All4 Racing machine piloted by Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar, with France’s Mathieu Baumel as co-pilot, has taken the top step on the podium in Buenos Aires.
The duo won five out of 13 legs to claim the race, marking the first win for Baumel and the second for Al-Attiyah, who won with VW in 2011.
It would have been a podium lockout again for Mini had it not been for Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz, who placed their Toyota Hilux in second, with additional Minis finishing in third, fourth and fifth.
The troubled Peugeot 2008 DKR driven by Stéphane Peterhansel ultimately finished in 11th place. American driver Robby Gordon finished first in his class, but 19th overall.
Things were even more predictable in the other categories.
The Kamaz team from Russia won the Truck category for the third consecutive year (and the twelfth since 2000).
Spanish rider Marco Coma won the Motorcycle category on his KTM 450 Rally – his second consecutive win and fifth win overall.
And Poland’s Rafał Sonik won in the Quad class, which has been taken on a Yamaha ATV every year since the rally moved to South America and the category was instituted.
…….Don’t mess with the Mini All4.
Pictures of the winning car in action during the Dakar Rally.
Followed by pictures of the ‘ordinary’ Mini Cooper chilling at a photo shoot.
Then Mini Cooper S chilling at a photo shoot.
Can you spot the differences?