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QATARI RACING TALENT NASSER AL-ATTIYAH WINS DAKAR ON HIS MINI ALL4 RACING

Qatari racing driver made motorsport history by becoming the first Qatari and Arab professional racing driver to win the toughest rally in the world, the Dakar, twice. The first time was in 2011 with his Volkswagen Touareg racing car team and the second time was 2015 on his MINI ALL4 Racing, which he rented from the German X-Raid company operated and managed by Sven Quandt.

And while most Middle Eastern media as well as the car importers and regional offices in the Middle East did not care much about the 2015 Dakar, it was completely different in the other parts of the world.

Most European and Asian car brands based in Europe or Asia, such as MINI, Renault, Peugeot and Toyota, bombarded us on a daily basis with news about their teams and their rankings.

The European media, such as Eurosport Germany, had an amazing coverage about the world-famous Dakar, which made you feel as if you were racing with the other racers.

I hope that the media and the car and motorcycle companies based in the Middle East and North Africa, such as MINI, Toyota, Peugeot, Mitsubishi, KTM, Honda HRC, Kamaz, Iveco, etc. would pay more attention to the such important motorsport events in the future.

Anyway, back to Nasser Al Attiyah and his very professional MINI racing team, which by the way celebrates its fourth consecutive overall win at the Dakar Rally and also had four MINI ALL4 Racing cars among the five fastest cars at the 2015 Dakar. The only non-MINI car in the Top 5 at the 2015 was the Toyota Hi-Lux of
Gilliers De Villiers who came at second position this year.

The MINI brand on the other hand was able to dominate the 2015 Dakar from the very beginning, while Saudi Arabian racing driver Yazeed Al Rajhi also made a very impressive appearance in his first Dakar participation, where he was even listed at third position overall at some point of the rally. Unfortunately a braking system failure which forced him to an excessive use of the ‘engine-braking’, led to an overheating of the engine which consequently led to an unfortunate engine damage related to one of the engine valves.

But at the end MINI achieved further success at the Dakar Rally. After covering more than 9,000 kilometres spanning Argentina, Chile and Bolivia, MINI won the world’s toughest rally for the fourth time in a row.
Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel (QT/FR) crossed the finishing line in the Argentinian capital Buenos Aires (AR) as the overall winners, having won five of the 13 legs in their MINI ALL4 Racing.

“I promised last year when I was on the podium that I'd be back to win, and now I'm here,” said Al-Attiyah. “It was very hard to lead the race from the very beginning and to continue keeping this position on the long distance. Also because the race was really hard. I'm very happy about this great result and I want to thank and congratulate all mechanics and the team for the great job they have done during the two weeks. The MINI ALL4 Racing is an incredible car and it was again very nice to drive.”

“Nasser Al-Attiyah winning the 2015 Dakar Rally in the MINI ALL4 Racing is continuing the success story of MINI at one of the toughest races in motorsport,” said Senior Vice President MINI, Jochen Goller. “I would like to congratulate him and his team to this fantastic achievement, which the worldwide MINI community is obviously delighted about.”

“We always knew there would be many unforeseeable challenges on this 9,000+ kilometer adventure across South America and that the final result remains unpredictable till the very last days of the rally,“ said Goller. “On the other hand we also knew that the x-raid team, the MINI ALL4 Racing and of course all MINI drivers entered the competition extremely well-prepared and for this I want to personally thank the x-raid team head Sven Quandt.“

The “Dakar” entrants faced numerous unforeseeable challenges on the demanding route from Buenos Aires in Argentina via Iquique in Chile and Uyuni in Bolivia. From classic gravel rallying in Argentina and winding mountain roads through the Andes at altitudes of up to 4,500 metres in Bolivia to the extremely dry and hot Atacama Desert in Chile with its towering dunes and fine sand, the “Dakar” tested both man and machine to their limits. The drivers and co-drivers had to remain absolutely focused throughout the event.

The MINI ALL4 Racing provided further impressive evidence of its speed and reliability at the 2015 Dakar Rally. Once again, it proved to be a great all-rounder. “With now four Dakar victories in a row to its name from 2012 to 2015, the MINI ALL4 Racing proved once more to be the car to beat confirming its reliability, strength and agility in a convincing manner,” Goller said. “Our goal this year was to achieve another great overall team result and, with five MINI ALL4 Racing finishing the 2015 Dakar Rally in the top ten, nine MINI ALL4 Racing reaching the finish line, eleven stage victories with four different drivers and Nasser winning the world’s toughest marathon rally, we have successfully met all our targets. During the 2015 Dakar Rally, we have certainly seen the best MINI ALL4 Racing ever, and I am already looking forward to seeing it compete in the 2015 long-distance World Cup in preparation for the 2016 Dakar Rally.”

All in all, the MINI ALL4 Racing won eleven of the 13 legs at this year’s “Dakar”. Five of these were double victories for MINI. No fewer than four MINI ALL4 Racing cars ranked among the top five cars in the overall standings.

Al-Attiyah/Baumel were joined at the top of the table by Krzysztof Holowczyc/Xavier Panseri (PL/FR) in third place overall, while Erik van Loon/Wouter Rosegaar (NL/NL) came in a strong fourth after entering the “Dakar” in the MINI ALL4 Racing for the first time. Vladimir Vasilyev/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RU/RU) – overall winners of the 2014 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country-Rallies in the MINI ALL4 Racing – finished fifth. Aidyn Rakhimbayev/Anton Nikolaev (KZ/RU) also ranked among the top ten, securing ninth place overall. Nine of the ten MINI ALL4 Racing cars that started the race made it across the finishing line in Buenos Aires.



Results 2015 Dakar Rally.

01 Al-Attiyah/Baumel - MINI ALL4 Racing - 40:32:25h
02 De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz – TOYOTA Hi-Lux 41:07:59h
03 Holowczyc/Panseri – MINI ALL4 Racing - 42:04:26h
04 Van Loon/Rosegaar – MINI ALL4 Racing - 43:34:17h
05 Vasilyev/Zhiltsov – MINI ALL4 Racing - 43:45:06h
09 Rakhimbayev/Nikolaev – MINI ALL4 Racing – 44:41:09h
12 Garafulic/Palmeiro – MINI ALL4 Racing – 46:00:34h
13 Zhou/Schulz – MINI ALL4 Racing – 46:07:49h
17 Terranova/Graue – MINI ALL4 Racing – 47:39:19h
21 Schott/Schmidt – MINI ALL4 Racing – 49:51:23h


MINI ALL4 Racing 2015 Dakar Rally Lineup.

Monster Energy Rally Raid Team:
#300 Nani Roma/Michel Périn (ES/FR)
#305 Orlando Terranova/Bernardo „Ronnie“ Graue (AR/AR)
#306 Krzysztof Holowczyc/Xavier Panseri (PL/FR)

X-raid Team:
#310 Vladimir Vasilyev/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RU/RU)
#314 Erik van Loon/Wouter Rosegaar (NL/NL)
#319 Boris Garafulic/Filipe Palmeiro (CL/PT)
#329 Aidyn Rakhimbayev/Anton Nikolaev (KZ/RU)
#332 Zhou Yong/Andreas Schulz (CN/DE)
#334 Stephan Schott/Holm Schmidt (DE/DE)

Qatar Rally Team:
#301 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel (QT/FR)

MS
19.01.2015
Munich - Dubai - Doha

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