Stéphane Peterhansel, together with Joan “Nani” Roma and Krzysztof Holowczyc, the three leaders of the X-Raid team, are all first-line candidates to win the Dakar 2013. However, the Minis face a number of threats, even an internal struggle…

After winning its first title thanks to Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret, X-Raid presents a ‘dream team’ for the Dakar rally with a good chance of victory, with seven cars of which six are Minis. Based on the demonstration of 2012, the ‘armada’ put together by Sven Quandt has little to fear from the competition: the favourites had very few cold sweats, finishing the race on the first two steps of the podium and winning 8 stages out of 13 with 4 different drivers!

Nani Roma and Michel Périn
Nani Roma and Michel Périn

Photo by: X-Raid Team

The situation may have changed over the year, and the domination of the Minis is not so clear, as Stéphane Peterhansel himself admits. Although he won the Baja of Spain and the Rally dos Sertöes - his only two races this season - the captain predicts that “the competition will be hard this year, and we will certainly be a bit behind in terms of power as a result of the new regulations”.

The issue of the performance differential between the Minis and their rivals will only be decided on the track, and the application of new regulations restricting engine development could well change the picture. In any case, X-Raid remains the only team in which three drivers stand out as potential winners, with Nani Roma and Krzysztof Holowczyc alongside Peterhansel. The strength of the team is not surprisingly seen as something that gives Sven Quandt a number of options: “We have three strings in our bow in the fight for the first places”.

Krzysztof Holowczyc and Filipe Palmeiro
Krzysztof Holowczyc and Filipe Palmeiro

Photo by: X-Raid Team

The former driver is also aware that he needs to channel the ambitions within his team. Although professional and disciplined when circumstances and common sense require it, the three X-Raid drivers are driven, above all, by their desire to win, as 2004 Bike winner Roma explains: “After finishing second in the last edition, of course you think about first place!” Holowczyc, who spent much of the 2012 rally on the provisional podium before falling back towards the end, echoes the Catalan rider’s words when talking about his prospects for 2013: “I’m more experienced now, and nothing should stop me from trying to achieve greater success in the Dakar”. Having good resources is always an advantage…

Members of the Monster Energy X-Raid Team
302: Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) - Jean-Paul Cottret (FRA) / Mini All 4 Racing
305: Nani Roma (ESP) - Michel Périn (FRA) / Mini All 4 Racing
307: Leonid Novitskiy (RUS) - Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS) / Mini All 4 Racing
310: Krzysztof Holowczyc (POL) - Filipe Palmeiro (POR) / Mini All 4 Racing
313: Orlando Terranova (ARG) - Paulo Fiúza (POR) / BMW X3 CC
314: Boris Garafulic (CHI) - Gilles Picard (FRA) / Mini All 4 Racing
324: Stephan Schott (DEU) - Holm Schmidt (DEU) / Mini All 4 Racing

ASO DAKAR