The third stage of this year’s Dakar Rally brought on the first win for a MINI crew, at the hands of Stephane Peterhansel. Alongside his co-driver, David Castera, the two put in a stunning display today, earning the first place as they arrived in Arequipa. They weren’t the only ones behind the steering wheel of a MINI that claimed success in this stage though, as four MINI crews finished inside the top five when the flag went down.

Thanks to the magnificent display put on today, the French duo of Peterhansel and Castera are now third overall in the general ranking. That was expected though as Peterhansel is the most successful driver in the MINI roster competing at the Dakar Rally this year. He has claimed seven wins behind the steering wheel of a car and six on a bike, so far. Overall, the MINI drivers share no less than 22 Dakar Rally titles in between them, 10 of which in the car segment.

Kuba Przygonski and Tom Colsoul were the second MINI crew to finish in the top five today, with their MINI JCW Rally car. Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk came in just a bit over a minute later to secure fourth place, placing the duo in the second place in the overall standings. Unfortunately, Carlos Sainz hit a bit of bad luck today, as just 40 km into the Special Stage their buggy lost the front left wheel suspension, causing a stop of 3 hours and 15 minutes, basically reducing their hopes at defending the 2018 title to rubble.

Nevertheless, the teams are optimistic about the upcoming stages and anything can still happen. The overall leader right now is Toyota’s Nasser Al-Attiyah, who has almost 7 minutes ahead of Yazeed Al-Rajhi and his X-Raid MINI right now. Another MINI comes in fourth overall right now, with Nani Roma and Alex Haro coming in fifth in this stage. Tomorrow the teams will enter Stage 4, going from Arequipa to Tacna.