– Six Mini All4 Racing pairings in the top 10
– Impressive testing mileage with the buggy
Today, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, second round of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies, ended with six MINI ALL4 Racing vehicles securing top-10 results. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (KSA) and Timo Gottschalk (GER) finished second behind the Toyota of winner Nasser Al-Attiyah.
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) and Michel Périn (FRA) finished third, in the desert rally. US-American Bryce Menzies who contested his first desert rally behind the wheel of a MINI ALL4 Racing delivered in particularly fine style and clinched fourth place right away. Behind him, Jakub Przygonski (POL) and his new Belgian navigator, Tom Colsoul, finished fifth.
The local heroes, Sheik Khalid Al Qassimi / Khalid Al Kendi (both UAE) made it to seventh place while the German pairing Stephan Schott and Holm Schmidt received a multi-hour time penalty for the accident they had two days ago and consequently finished 19th. Jutta Kleinschmidt (GER) and Tina Thörner (SWE) had to cope with a similar fate. In the end, they took their buggy to 25th position. In the meantime, things went even worse for the Russians Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov: they held second position for quite a while but an accident in the penultimate stage of the rally forced them into early retirement.
In the 2015 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, the drivers and their navigators had to cope with extremely high temperatures but this year, the weather conditions were rather unusual for the region and the season. On the first two days, rain was falling to an extent that the drivers were forced to turn on the windscreen wipers. And in addition, the temperatures did not even reach the 20° C mark. From stage three on, however, the temperatures began to rise and in the penultimate stage, they were back in the more usual area of 40° C and more.
For Al-Rajhi it was the first appearance in the MINI ALL4 Racing after several years and although he got on well with the vehicle right away and used the rally for better familiarising with it. “The rally wasn’t easy and due to the choppy dunes it also was rather risky,