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931 kilometre stage ends victorious with win for MINI ALL4 Racing. Four MINI ALL4 Racing in top ten at end of Stage 12.AUTO - DAKAR 2016 - PART 2

Celebratory congratulations are directed towards Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) with the advent of his first ever Dakar Rally Special Stage win. The AXION X-raid Team (#315) driver and co-driver Michel Périn (FRA) finished Stage 12 in the number one slot after a Special Stage consisting of 481k of hard packed, pebble and rock littered terrain.

After a near-faultless display of consistent driving in his first ever Dakar Rally – a completely new racing arena and experience for the former WRC driver – this is a much deserved win for Hirvonen. He now sits fourth overall but still has ambition to complete this Dakar inside the top three.

Hirvonen: “That was a bit of a surprise! It didn’t feel so fast – it was a tricky stage and not easy to keep a good speed or rhythm. When I thought it would get faster, a tricky section would happen. But it appears it was difficult for everybody. I’m happy with the way it’s been going and the team has been fantastic in the way they keep us going. We will keep trying until the end..”

Al-Attiyah (QAT) and co-pilot Mathieu Baumel (FRA) continued their fight for the Dakar top slot by finishing Stage 12 in second place. The close run stage proved to be an exciting spectacle for crews and spectators alike and ended with Nasser pushing hard in his MINI ALL4 Racing (#300) to complete the stage only nine seconds behind fellow AXION X-raid Team driver Hirvonen.

Nasser: “A long stage; and a stage where it wasn’t easy to open up some distance because the surface was very, very loose. Tomorrow I will try to take some more time from the leader. We need to have a good run but everything is still open until the end. We’ll see…”

Spain’s Joan ‘Nani’ Roma and Alex Haro (AXION X-raid Team #304) secured a top five position in their MINI ALL4 Racing. At stage end they took a hard fought fifth because of the lack of room to overtake and the problems with dust kicked up by competitors.

“It’s not such a good day for us,” said Roma. “I had to stay in the dust of many competitors and this made the stage even more difficult. It has been a strange Dakar. We haven’t had many good sides. One of the most positive things to have happened is Alex and I working together. The partnership is great and now we work together in an automatic way. For sure, we would have liked to have made a different Dakar.”

Orlando Terranova (ARG) and co-driver Bernardo ‘Ronnie’ Graue (ARG) from AXION X-raid Team (#310) once again displayed their renowned high-speed determination and navigational skills to complete in the top ten with a fine end of stage seventh to place them 12th overall.

Terranova: “Normally this would be a good stage, but we got stuck behind Robby Gordon. We started eight minutes behind him and when we got him, he was like a wall!”

Stage 12 saw Jakub ‘Kuba’ Przygonski (POL) and Andrei Rudnitski (BLR) of ORLEN Team (#327) complete the day in 12th. Barely 11 minutes separated them between the next two hard charging MINI ALL4 Racing crews of Erik van Loon (NLD) / Wouter Rosegaar (NLD) of #306 Van Loon Racing (15th) and Boris Garafulic (CHL) / Filipe Palmeiro (POR) of # 313 X-raid Team in 16th.

Ending the stage in 23rd was the #323 MINI ALL4 Racing of Harry Hunt (GBR) and Andreas Schulz (GER). This result means Hunt retains tenth overall and a major result for the young Englishman in his first Dakar event.

The remaining MINI ALL4 Racing family members Nazareno Lopez (ARG) and Sergio Lafuente (URU) of X-raid Team (#351), and Adam Malysz (POL) / Xavier Panseri (FRA) of ORLEN Team (#325) are still amongst the thick of the action and making ground from time lost in the early racing stages.

2016 Dakar Rally: Day 14, Stage 12, 931km San Juan – Villa Carlos Paz. MINI ALL 4 Racing standings:

Position Driver Co-driver # Team Time
2 Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) Mathieu Baumel (FRA) 300 AXION X-raid Team 044:08:41 +0:40:59
4 Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Michel Périn (FRA) 315 AXION X-raid Team 044:39:24 + 01:11:42
6 Joan ‘Nani’ Roma (ESP) Alex Haro (ESP) 304 AXION X-raid Team 045:14:20 +01:46:38
10 Harry Hunt (GB) Andreas Schulz (GER) 323 X-raid Team 046:36:40 +03:08:58
12 Orlando Terranova (ARG) Bernardo ‘Ronnie’ Graue (ARG) 310 AXION X-raid Team 48:41:34 +05:13:52
13 Erik van Loon (NDL) Wouter Rosegaar (NDL) 306 Van Loon Racing 048:52:13 +05:24:31
16 Jakub ‘Kuba’ Przygonski (POL) Andrei Rudnitski (BLR) 327 ORLEN Team 049:09:14 +05:41:32
22 Boris Garafulic (CHL) Filipe Palmeiro (POR) 313 X-raid Team 052:55:25 +09:27:43
TBA Nazareno Lopez (ARG) Sergio Lafuente (URU) 351 X-raid Team 067:40:27 +24:12:45
TBA Adam Malysz (POL) Xavier Panseri (FRA) 325 ORLEN Team

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