Published on January 8th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
MINI takes 1-2 victory for Dakar Stage 4
Stage Four of the Dakar Rally sees a 1-2 finish from the MINI team, the first 1-2 victory for this year’s race. The stage begins high up in the Andes mountain- roughly 3000 metres above sea level. Temperatures go as high as 33 degrees and as low as 13 degrees, so drivers have to fight their way down the mountain while dealing with the impending cold. The descent was roughly 2000 metres, with the stage ending in Copiapo.
In terms of overall results, the MINI ALL4 Racing team of Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel are leading the pack by 8 minutes and 15 seconds. Further down the rankings are the two other MINI ALL4 Racing teams, in 5th and 6th place.
The Dakar Rally is to WRC as the Le Mans 24 Hours is to Super GT. It’s one of the most gruelling forms of motorsport, a true test of endurance over the course of a 2 week rally. The Dakar rally originally used to be run from Paris to Dakar (hence the name), but in more recent years the threat of terrorist attacks and ambushes has forced the Dakar rally to move to South America, from Argentina to Chile. Suffice to say the name remains the same as a matter of respect, but the competition is just as gruelling despite a change in environment.
The rules for modification in the Dakar Rally are far more liberal. A lot of the competitors run cars that are effectively trucks underneath, with a tube frame chassis and a shell designed to mimic the looks of existing road cars. It’s very much like the Group B era of rallying, though with not quite that much power. Still though, these cars are capable of hitting 130 mph (a little over 200 km/h) while flying over dunes and rumbling down rocky roads. They have the kind of equipment you would see on a truck developed for the Rainforest Challenge, but with an added dose of serious speed.
Next up on the Dakar Rally is Stage 5, which crosses the Atacama Desert. Less a question of being able to balance a car on the limit of grip, this stage is more a test of technical off-roading skill as drivers have to deal with fine sand and gravel, as well as to avoid suspension-destroying boulders. The Dakar rally is a truly holistic test of driver skill, to see if a driver is capable of performing in a variety of conditions.