The 2012 Dakar Rally came to a close this weekend, and while the terrain between Argentina and Peru proved to be grueling for some, the trail proved no match for a modified Mini Countryman and the Iveco Powerstar.
Built by German tuning company X-raid, the pumped-up Countryman All4 measures 9 inches longer, 16 inches taller, and 8 inches wider than a garden variety Countryman. Under the hood is a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged diesel engine that's paired to a six-speed sequential transmission, and maximum output is rated at 311 hp and 516 lb-ft of of torque. X-raid also thoroughly re-worked the Mini's suspension and added water-cooled rear brakes along with a roll cage. A long-range 110-gallon fuel tank was also added.
At the helm of the heavily-modified Countryman was French driver Stephane Peterhansel and co -driver Jean-Paul Cottret. Although Peterhansel is no stranger to Dakar victories (this is his 10th), it was a first for the Monster Energy X-raid team. "We finally have achieved our long-awaited goal: our first win in the Dakar Rally," said Monster Energy X-raid Team Manager Sven Quandt. But that's not all the team is celebrating; all five Countryman vehicles entered by the German team made it to the top 10. Teammates Nani Roma and Michel Perin, also driving a Countryman, were the runners-up, beating out tough competitors like Toyota and Hummer.
As for the truck group, Iveco dominated the race. Driver Gerard De Rooy with the Petronas De Rooy Iveco team clinched the number one truck spot with a 900-hp Iveco Powestar truck. A Fiat Powetrain (FTP) industrial C13 diesel engine was at the heart of the monstrous truck, but also in the two Iveco Trakker Evolution 2 trucks that followed behind the Powerstar. "The Iveco participation in the Dakar 2012 aimed to confirm once more the excellent reliability of the Iveco trucks and of the FPT Industrial engines. Winning the rally and ranking 3 trucks in the first 6 positions is an outstanding success which shows the efficiency, strength and safety of the Iveco Trakker and Powerstar" said Iveco CEO, Alfredo Altavilla.
The 5500- mile 2012 Dakar rally started on New Year's Day in Argentina, crossed through Chile, and ended in Peru on January 15.