Joan “Nani” Roma and his co-driver Alex Haro in the #604 MINI John Cooper Works Rally won the Baja Portalegre 500 in Portugal, and their teammates Stéphane Peterhansel and his new co-driver David Castera finished second in MINI #601.
The event was the season finale in the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup. MINI’s Jakub ‘Kuba’ Przygonski had clinched the series’ title in the Rally of Morocco run earlier in October. Przygonski did not compete in the Baja Portalegre.
Roma’s win came despite two punctures and a second-place finish on the second stage; his edge on stage one, which ended in rainy and slippery conditions, was enough to preserve his win.
The rally served as a test for MINI in advance of the Dakar rally in January.
Roma said, “The last stage was not easy and we had two punctures within 70km, which caused us to stop twice, but we’re happy and it was important to test everything in the car before Dakar. The MINI John Cooper Works Rally goes really well. It was not an easy race; it was really twisty and there were a lot of trees, so it was quite complicated.”
The 2019 Dakar will be run in entirely in Peru, beginning on January 6 and finishing on January 17.