Seven MINI ALL4 Racing vehicles to race in Morocco
It’s true, the 2016 Dakar Rally is taking centre stage more and more but at the same time, the battle for the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup is entering its crucial phase. This week (03th to 09th October), the calendar features Morocco’s Rallye du Maroc, the ninth and penultimate round of the World Cup season. And the field of the final desert rally of the year will feature a total of seven MINI ALL4 Racing vehicles.
Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) and Mathieu Baumel (FRA) currently hold the FIA World Cup lead with 201 points on their tally, with the deficit of their title rival Vladimir Vasilyev amounting to 22 points. A maximum of 60 points can be scored in Morocco and should Al-Attiyah succeed in extending his lead to more than 30 points he will have secured the title early – as only 30 points will be awarded in the season finale, the Baja Portalegre. The two Dutchmen Erik van Loon and Wouter Rosegaar currently hold sixth place in the championship and with a good result, they possibly could gain several positions.
At the same time, the event in Morocco will be a particularly thrilling challenge for Mikko Hirvonen. The Finn is going to contest his first desert rally at the wheel of a MINI ALL4 Racing and will be supported by his French navigator Michel Périn. In the Baja Spain, his very first appearance as MINI ALL4 Racing driver, he secured the really fine third place. For Kuba Przygonski it also will be the first outing in the dunes with the MINI ALL4 Racing. The young Pole raced on motorbikes but switched to four-wheel vehicles in mid-2015. He will be teamed-up with Belarusian co-driver Andrei Rudnitski.
Harry Hunt (GBR) contests the rally with German Andreas Schulz in the co-driver seat. The Englishman is the youngest driver of the squad and is going to contest his first Dakar, next year. For Adam Malysz (POL) and Xavier Panseri (FRA) it will be the third joint rally in the cockpit of the MINI ALL4 Racing. The line-up also comprises a pairing that is going to make its MINI ALL4 Racing debut, in Morocco: Nazareno Lopez from Argentina and Sergio Lafuente from Uruguay. Lopez contested his first Dakar, this year.
The Rallye du Maroc consists of five special stages. On the first three days of the event, the service will stay at Zagora, with the special stages being contested as loops around the Moroccan city. The fourth special stage will take the competitors from Zagora to Agadir. There, the field will have to cope with another loop, on the fifth and final day. Over the course of the rally, the competitors will cover a total of 1358 special-stage kilometres.