Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz in the #305 MINI John Cooper Works Buggy won the 2020 Dakar with a six-minute, twenty-one second lead over 2019 winners Nasser Al Attiyah and Matthieu Baumel in a Toyota Hilux. Stéphane Peterhansel and his co-driver Paulo Fiuza in the #302 MINI JCW Buggy finished third overall. Two additional MINI teams finished in the top ten; Orlando Terranova and Bernardo Graue in the #311 MINI JCW Rally finished sixth, and Yasir Seaidan and Alexey Kuzmich in the #324 MINI JCW Rally were ninth. Three more of the nine MINI teams in the event finished, while two dropped out—an impressive tally for one of the most grueling races on Earth.
The win was the fifth for MINI, which captured victories from 2012 through 2015 when the Dakar was run in South America, and the first for the MINI JCW Buggy that began to run alongside the MINI JCW Rally in 2018. It was the third win for Sainz, the father of current McLaren Formula One driver Carlos Sainz, Jr. He won for Volkswagen in 2010 and for Peugeot in 2018.
Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso, running his first-ever Dakar in a Toyota Hilux, finished a strong thirteenth overall, finishing second on one stage and rolling over during another.
Sven Quandt, CEO of the X-Raid team that ran the MINIs again this year, said “We are absolutely overwhelmed by this superb team result. We did not expect to finish first and third. It has been a fantastic race, with many battles for the lead. Carlos and Stéphane did an outstanding job. The performance of our MINI JCW fleet was absolutely top-notch. We are delighted to have finally won another Dakar with our MINIs after so many years of trying. To have four MINIs in the top ten and seven in the top 20 shows how reliable we are. Thank you to our staff and to everyone who has believed in us and supported us—particularly MINI and our partners.”
[Photo courtesy MINI Motorsport.]