From a technical point of view, the X-Raid Mini team had a strong 2018 Dakar Rally, but Team Principal Sven Quandt believes mistakes from the drivers cost them dearly.
Quandt felt losing Nani Roma early from the rally after a third stage crash, which left him with head and neck injuries, was a big blow for the team, while mistakes from Mikko Hirvonen and Orlando Terranova left them down in nineteenth and twentieth overall, well off the pace.
However, Quandt said he was happy that all of the Mini John Cooper Works Rally and Buggy machines were extremely reliable throughout and gave the drivers the safety they needed in such difficult conditions.
“It was quite a mixed Dakar; from the drivers’ side I think there were unfortunately some mistakes that pulled us back quite a bit, but on the technical side we were astonished,” said Quandt.
“The new MINI John Cooper Works Buggy was really impressive and lasted without any problems. Performance-wise it really showed that this is the right weapon for the future but the MINI John Cooper Works Rally was also good and, until Nani dropped out early due to a big hit in the car, we were in a good position.
“From a safety side, the cars were incredible; you could nearly make any roll and nobody was in jeopardy. Even if the car was 20 or 40kg heavier it didn’t matter because we had super-safe cars and that’s the most important thing for this race.”
Quandt did separate Jakub Przygonski from the criticism and heaped praise on the Polish driver for the way he adapted to the conditions throughout the rally, after he and co-driver Tom Colsoul claiming an excellent fifth position overall.
“Kuba did an incredible performance – driving very steady all the way through from the beginning,” said Quandt. “Fifth place is an incredible result for him.
“He shadowed the leaders throughout the race, getting closer to the front and nobody was watching him. He and Tom made no mistakes – this is how you do a Dakar.”