Dakar: The Ultimate Endurance Rally
For fans of seriously gritty, knuckle-biting motorsport, the start of a new year signals one thing: the Dakar Rally. As the world's most daring racers take on the uncharted terrain along South America's coast, the MINI Space team got to grips with the story behind the world's most infamous endurance rally.
Cars, trucks, motorcycles and quads all rev up for this 15-day marathon along the South American coast. Charting 8,574 merciless kilometers through Peru, Chile and Argentina, these racers need to be ready for the full gamut of natural obstacles. From the highest sand dune in the world (the Peruvian "Cerro Blanco") to the world's driest desert (the unearthly Atacama Desert in Chile), this route certainly doesn't do geography by halves.
Unlike many other rallies, the Dakar Rally forgoes designated roads and routes, and lets the drivers chart their own path through unmarked terrain. With an unregulated route, drivers know it's crucial to keep your wits about you. But when that little jaunt covers up to 800km a day, the battle of endurance really sets in. It's no wonder that 50% of entrants retire from the Dakar Rally every single year.
Terrain like this calls for serious wheels. That's where these imposing MINI ALL4 Racing come in. Check the video below for the model in all its 3D glory.
One racer who's right at home on these wheels is defending champion Stéphane Peterhansel - 10 time winner of the Dakar Rally - who led the Monster Energy X-raid Team to victory behind the wheel of the MINI ALL4 Racing in 2012.
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Dune hopping is no hobby, and the X-raid Team in their MINI ALL4 Racing have had their work cut out for them on the Dakar 2015 route. Scroll down for an exclusive look at their sand-spraying antics.
The competitors at the 2015 Rally Dakar now have half of the roughly 9,000 kilometres through the heart of South America behind them. Their reward is a rest day. However, it would be wrong to believe they can put their feet up for a day. There is no time for that sort of thing on the toughest rally in the world.
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