Latino Traffic Report has learned that Carlos Sainz and his co-driver Lucas Cruz have won the Rally Dakar for the third time, presenting MINI with its fifth overall victory at the iconic endurance rally. The Spanish pair, in the MINI John Cooper Works Buggy, finished 6:21 minutes ahead of last year’s winner Nasser Al-Attiyah after roughly 7,500 kilometres through Saudi Arabia, which was hosting the Dakar for the first time.
“I am very, very happy,” said Cruz. “So much hard work, physical training and test work with the team has gone into getting this result. The race was fantastic for us drivers, but you had to work very hard, right from day one. It is hard to imagine, but it was a full-throttle rally from the word go. Right now, I just want to enjoy the success.”
Dakar record winner Stéphane Peterhansel and his co-driver Paulo Fiuza finished third, 9:58 minutes behind Sainz and Cruz, to round off an impressive performance from the two MINI JCW Buggies.
Seven of the nine MINI crews that started the rally reached the finish in Al-Quiddia, four of them in the top ten, including the team from Argentina, Orlando Terranova and Bernardo ‘Ronnie’ Graue, who finished in the top three on three days on their way to sixth place overall in the four-wheel drive MINI JCW Rally.
Sainz and Cruz claimed their first stage win on the third leg. That victory took them to the top of the overall standings—a position they held right through to the finish.
#MINI Motorsport #Dakar Rally