X-raid signs World Rally star Mikko Hirvonen

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Even after having celebrated four consecutive Dakar wins, X-raid isn’t ready to rest. Instead, it is working on creating the best possible package for the coming years. On the one hand, the X-raid team consistently enhances the MINI ALL4 Racing, currently the most successful off-road vehicle of the world, and on the other, X-raid succeeded in signing another competitive driver for its line-up: Mikko Hirvonen. The experienced rally driver already demonstrated his skills at the wheel of the MINI ALL4 Racing in tests.

The former WRC ace was thrilled by the MINI ALL4 Racing right from the start. Although the switch to off-road rallying represents a major challenge for the Finn. To provide him the best possible support on the way to coping with the new challenge, X-raid teams him up with the experienced co-driver Michel Périn. Périn is a four-time Dakar winner who celebrated his last Dakar-win to date in 2014: together with Nani Roma in a MINI ALL4 Racing. And although the Frenchman had announced his retirement from motor racing, early this year, he didn’t want to miss out on this opportunity. He already acted as Hirvonen’s co-driver in the tests and was fascinated by the Finn right away.

In his 13 WRC years, Hirvonen finished second in the World Championship four times (2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012) but at the end of the 2014 season, the 35 year old retired from the WRC sport for good. In June, he tested the MINI ALL4 Racing in Morocco for the first time and in a few days, in Spain’s Baja Aragon held in late July, Hirvonen will drive the MINI ALL4 Racing for the first time in anger.

“We are really delighted with having succeeded in signing Mikko” said X-raid's Team Manager Sven Quandt. “He certainly will be an asset not only to our team but to the Dakar, too. In the tests in Morocco he delivered in truly impressive style and felt good on the ‘new terrain’ right from the start. Nonetheless, one shouldn’t have too high expectations regarding his Dakar debut. Mikko still has to gather a lot of experience as the Dakar is a unique event. But on the other hand, Michel is a very experienced co-driver who has got what it takes to support him in many areas.”