[delay +1 hour]
Rally legends Despres, Peterhansel and Sainz excited for new challenge in Peru.
– The former Team Peugeot Total drivers have accrued an astonishing 20 Dakar victories between them on four and two wheels since Peterhansel’s first in 1991.
– Sainz won the second of his two titles this year in South America with all three drivers switching from Team Peugeot Total to race a MINI John Cooper Works Buggy.
– The 2019 edition will see the trio race the rear-wheel drive car that has a top speed of 190kph and has been tested by X-raid’s seasoned mechanics and engineers.
– The off-road machine will be put through its paces by Despres and Sainz at the six-stage Rallye du Maroc starting on October 4 over the arduous Morocco dunes.
– Spaniard Sainz, who will return next January with trusty co-driver Lucas Cruz, said: "There are things you can only learn about a car during race, so let’s see how we perform here. I’m convinced we’ll learn a lot at Rally du Maroc and second to that we’ll try to win. It’s a perfect opportunity for us."
– Despres, who already has five Dakar bike titles, will be looking to earn his maiden car victory after impressing with two Silk Way Rally wins.
– The Frenchman, who travels to Peru with co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret, added: "It’s a huge benefit to be in this new MINI team with Stéphane and Carlos. In my experience the best teachers are those who have the most experience to share."
– Peterhansel’s seven Dakar car wins make him the joint-most successful competitor in a single category alongside Vladimir Chagin’s truck heroics for Kamaz.
– The Frenchman, who also has a staggering six bike wins, declared: "There is more power there than before. The shock absorbers have also had a big upgrade. The third aspect to mention is a reduction of weight, this has made the buggy faster."