We’ve just returned from one of the most incredible journeys we’ve experienced as automotive journalists – Dakar Rally. Courtesy of MINI, the BMWBLOG team was invited to Lima, Peru to witness the debut of the MINI X-Raid Team in the Dakar 2018 rally championship.

Edition 40 of the world’s most demanding long-distance rally began on January 6 2018 in Lima and for the first time, MINI and X-raid are using two different types of drive. In addition to ALL4 MINI John Cooper Works Rally which competed last year as well, the rear-wheel drive MINI John Cooper Works Buggy joined the pack.

The MINI and X-raid range for the Dakar Rally 2018 will comprise seven cars and an experienced team of drivers and co-pilots. The three MINI John Cooper Works Buggies will be piloted by Mikko Hirvonen (FIN), Bryce Menzies (USA) and Yazeed Al-Rajhi (KSA). The driver seats in the MINI John Cooper Works Rally will be occupied by Orlando Terranova (ARG), Jakub Przygonski (POL), Joan “Nani” Roma (ESP) and Boris Garafulic (CHI).

A full review of the Dakar experience will follow in the next days when we will touch on the exciting drive aboard the MINI Buggy and the night experience with the X-Raid team in the bivouac. But in the mean time, we would like to share with you some photos from the first five stages of Dakar 2018.

Click below for more photos: