Carlos Sainz (Spain) and navigator Lucas Cruz (Spain) has just won the Dakar Rally this year for the third time in their car class (in 42h59m17s). The previous win was in 2010 and 2018. At the age of 57, Carlos Sainz, a double WRC world champion has became the oldest champion for the Dakar Rally.
This is also the first victory for the MINI John Cooper Works Buggy team. By doing so, they brought a fifth victory for MINI in the overall ranking of this iconic endurance rally.
For MINI and the MINI Motorsport partner, X-Raid, this was the first success of the previous series of victories, which lasted from 2012 to 2015. It is the first time in modern Dakar history, in the last 20 years, when a car brand manages to return to the top of the podium after interrupting their series of victories for several years.
Fernando Alonso, who competed on the Toyota side, ranked 13th in his first experience in the world’s toughest rally, at 4 hours and 42 minutes as the winner.
The very close gaps characterized the Dakar 2020 edition. Until the martial stage on Wednesday-Thursday, the difference between the first positions was only 24 seconds in the context where the total recorded time was over 35 hours. Dramatic battles followed and thanks to exemplary team strategy, Carlos Sainz was able to detach at 18 minutes with two final stages, while the other Mini team driver, Peterhansel was only 6 seconds closer to second place before the final day.
The MINI John Cooper Works Buggy team of Sainz and Cruz finished just 6:21 minutes ahead of previous winner, Nasser Al-Attiyah (Qatar) with a Toyota Hilux, after 7,586 of hard driven kilometers through Saudi Arabia, which hosted Dakar for the first time.
Dakar record holder Stéphane Peterhansel (France) and navigator Paulo Fiuza (Portugal) finished third in the overall standings, 9:58 minutes behind Sainz and Cruz, completing an impressive performance for the two MINI JCW Buggy. The two MINI JCW Buggy crews won four stages, while the MINI models were the fastest in a total of nine of the 12 days of the competition.
The Lithuanian Vaidotas Zala and Saulius Jurgelenas, in a MINI JCW Rally, won the first stage of the Dakar held on Saudi soil, on the very first day of the competition.
Seven of the nine MINI crews that started the rally came to Al-Quiddia (Saudi Arabia), four of them in the Top 10. Orlando Terranova (Argentina) and Bernardo “Ronnie” Graue (Argentina) s – they placed on the stage podium in three days and obtained the sixth place at the end of the competition, with the MINI JCW Rally.
Local favorite, Yasir Seaidan (Saudi Arabia), and navigator Alexey Kuzmich (Russia) took ninth place in the final and were in second place in the final stage. Jakub “Kuba” Przygonski (Poland) and co-pilot Timo Gottschalk (Germany) saw their chances for a top result broken from the first stage when a technical problem led to the loss of six hours. Finally, they placed 19th, at 8h35m18s winner.
MINI models took first place in the overall standings after the first stage of the rally and since then a MINI has always been in the first position. Zala and Jurgelenas opened the ball with victory in the first stage, after which Newfoundland and were leaders at the end of the second day. Sainz and Cruz got their first stage victory on day three. That success took them to the top of the overall standings which is a position they held until the end.