Jakub “Kuba” Przygonski and Tom Colsoul drove the #312 Mini JCW Works Rally to sixth place as the 2018 Dakar rally teams reached the event’s one-day rest stop in La Paz, Bolivia. The next Mini in the order is the thirteenth-place #305 John Cooper Works Buggy, piloted by Mikko Hirvonen and his co-driver, Andreas Schulz. Stephane Peterhansel and Jean Paul Cottret in a Peugeot are the overall leaders in the car class.
Five of the seven X-raid Minis are still running in what many competitors have described as a particularly grueling Dakar. As the teams rest in advance of the seventh stage on Saturday, January 13, the status of each Mini is as follows:
· Przygonski and Tom Colsoul, sixth at the break, are just under 2 ½-hours behind the leading Peugeot.
· Hirvonen and Schulz are thirteenth overall, almost five hours behind the leaders. Their major setback came on stage three, when they were stuck in the sand for hours.
· Boris Garafulic and Filipe Palmeiro in a JCW Rally are 26th, over ten hours behind the leading Peugeot. They were delayed by an accident on stage two.
· Yazeed Al Rajhi and co-driver Timo Gottschalk in one of the Buggies are 28th, over eleven hours behind. They were running strong along the beach in Peru when they were swept into the ocean by a wave. The car was taken to the bivouac at the end of the stage and repaired. They had already been set back when they stopped to help Hirvonen and Schulz get their car out of the sand on stage three.
· Orlando Terranova and Bernardo Graue in a JCW Rally are still classified as running, although at this writing their position at the end of stage six has not been announced; Terranova was struck by what was most likely altitude sickness on stage six and drove directly to the bivouac.
· Nani Roma and Alex Haro in a JCW Rally retired after a rollover on stage three that sent Roma, a former Dakar winner for Mini, to the hospital.
· American rookies Bryce Menzies and Peter Mortensen have also retired. They started strong, finishing fourth on the first stage. But they rolled their Buggy on stage two; it was damaged beyond repair and Mortenson suffered a broken right foot.
X-raid team principal Sven Quandt noted that none of the Minis’ problems have been mechanical. He said “We have never experienced such a Dakar before. It started out extremely hard – almost too hard. But we can say that so far there has been no technical defect. The Mini John Cooper Works Buggy has proven its potential and the Mini John Cooper Works Rally is also running great.”