Congratulations to Nasser Al-Attiyah on his second Dakar victory!
Nasser Al-Attiyah started the 2015 Dakar with a win on the very first stage but was handed down a 2 minute time penalty for speeding in the link section that cost him the stage win and the overall lead. Still, the Qatari driver had sent his rivals a clear message: he was going to set the pace this year and win it all and the very next day, it was his X-Raid MINI All4 on the stage podium once again and in the overall standings. Al-Attiyah would go on to win four of the thirteen stages of the 2015, but his position on top was far from secure and the Toyota drivers piled pressure on him. By the end however, Toyota driver Giniel de Villiers was the only man who challenged the no. 301 Mini with his consistent pace, but by then he had fallen 36 minutes back. To put it bluntly, the 2015 Dakar was Nasser’s to lose and unfortunately for the other drivers he faltered only a few times, but never failed.
The news wasn’t all good for the MINI drivers as defending champion Nani Roma’s dreams of a repeat were already shattered in the first 14km of stage 1 when his MINI ground to a halt after it lost all oil pressure an finished the stage under tow. The Spaniard did come back to win stage 9, but ended up crashing out of the rally the very next day.
Local hero Orlando Terranova was also disappointed when his MINI was knocked out of contention in stage 4 after suffering mechanical troubles stemming from a rollover at the end of the previous day. Despite this, the Argentinian driver set himself a blistering pace throughout the rally to climb from 46th to 18th place in the overall standings. By the time the race was over he had grabbed four stage victories and could have been a contender for first were it not for that rollover shaking up his MINI.
Former teammate Stéphane Peterhansel came to the 2015 Dakar flying the Peugeot colours in the rally comeback of the lion badge. The Frenchman’s bid for glory was tied to the unbaptized Peugeot 2008 DKR to Buenos Aires and mechanical woes relegated him to an 11th place finish. Robby Gordon also came to the Rally with his yet-untested custom GORDINI racer but a series of flats and mechanical gremlins knocked him out of contention on the second day. Mechanical demons dashed Yazeed Al-Rajhi career best Dakar on stage 11 when the third place driver was unable to get to the starting line due and was forced to withdraw. Still he and his Toyota Hilux will be a team that the MINIs need worry about in the 2016 edition of the Dakar.
Al-Rajhi’s pain was Krzysztof Hołowczyc’s gain. The Polish MINI driver celebrated his first ever podium finish on his tenth Dakar, 1 h 32′ behind the utterly dominant Al-Attiyah. Al-Rajhi’s misfortune also benefited the MINIs of Erik Van Loon rolled across the finish to a career best 4th place while Dakar rookie Vladimir Vasilyev’s clawed his way back 5th place from 14th.
When all was said and done, the MINIs would occupy 4 of the top 5 spots, 5 of the top 10, and had won 11 of the 13 timed special stages. There is a word for a performance like that: domination. The X-Raid MINI Racing drivers undoubtedly enjoyed thier utter and complete domination of the 2015 Dakar, but for the competition it means another season of tweaking and tuning thier vehicles during the 2015 off-road racing season in hopes of besting the MINIs in 2016.
Overall Standings at the end of the 2015 Dakar
|1||301||AL-ATTIYAH (QAT), BAUMEL (FRA)||MINI||040:32:25||00:00:00|
|2||303||DE VILLIERS (ZAF), VON ZITZEWITZ (DEU)||TOYOTA||041:07:59||00:35:34||00:00:00|
|3||307||HOLOWCZYC (POL), PANSERI (FRA)||MINI||042:04:26||01:32:01||00:00:00|
|4||314||VAN LOON (NLD), ROSEGAAR (NLD)||MINI||043:34:17||03:01:52||00:00:00|
|5||310||VASILYEV (RUS), ZHILTSOV (RUS)||MINI||043:45:06||03:12:41||00:00:00|
|6||309||LAVIEILLE (FRA), MAIMON (FRA)||TOYOTA||043:48:23||03:15:58||00:00:00|
|7||315||TEN BRINKE (NLD), COLSOUL (BEL)||TOYOTA||044:14:27||03:42:02||00:00:00|
|8||306||SOUSA (PRT), FIUZA (PRT)||MITSUBISHI||044:17:24||03:44:59||00:00:00|
|9||329||RAKHIMBAYEV (KAZ), NIKOLAEV (RUS)||MINI||044:41:09||04:08:44||00:00:00|
|10||320||CHABOT (FRA), PILLOT (FRA)||SMG||045:15:01||04:42:36||00:00:00|
|11||302||PETERHANSEL (FRA), COTTRET (FRA)||PEUGEOT||045:51:40||05:19:15||00:00:00|
|12||319||GARAFULIC (CHL), PALMEIRO (PRT)||MINI||046:00:34||05:28:09||00:00:00|
|13||332||ZHOU (CHN), SCHULZ (DEU)||MINI||046:07:49||05:35:24||00:00:00|
|14||326||SIREYJOL (FRA), BEGUIN (BEL)||BUGGY||046:25:14||05:52:49||00:00:00|
|15||333||LACHAUME (FRA), BRUCY (FRA)||OPTIMUS||046:42:13||06:09:48||00:00:00|
|16||327||POULTER (ZAF), HOWIE (ZAF)||TOYOTA||046:57:34||06:25:09||00:00:00|
|17||340||ISSABAYEV (KAZ), DEMYANENKO (RUS)||TOYOTA||047:27:31||06:55:06||00:00:00|
|18||305||TERRANOVA (ARG), GRAUE (ARG)||MINI||047:39:19||07:06:54||00:00:00|
|19||308||GORDON (USA), CAMPBELL (USA)||GORDINI||048:20:05||07:47:40||00:00:00|
|20||342||MORENO PIAZZOLI (CHL), ARAYA DIAZ (CHL)||SAM-MERCEDES||049:08:42||08:36:17||00:00:00|
|21||316||SPATARO (ARG), LOZADA (ARG)||RENAULT||049:14:51||08:42:26||00:00:00|
|22||334||SCHOTT (DEU), SCHMIDT (DEU)||MINI||049:51:23||09:18:58||00:00:00|
|23||311||DABROWSKI (POL), POWELL (GBR)||TOYOTA||051:41:08||11:08:43||00:00:00|
|24||339||VANAGAS (LTU), RUDNITSKI (BLR)||TOYOTA||051:42:18||11:09:53||00:00:00|
|25||360||LEAL DOS SANTOS (PRT), SACHS (BRA)||NISSAN||052:01:26||11:29:01||00:00:00|
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