If you’re still one of those people who think the Dakar rally can only be hosted by one place on Earth, given its name, you’re in the wrong. The Dakar Rally is now nothing but a brand, the ‘hostilities’ now taking place all around the world, depending on where the organizers decide to go next. This year, the rally will be hosted by Saudi Arabia for the first time. MINI will once again line up at the starting line, this time with nine cars.

MINI has had quite a successful run in the challenging Dakar rally since it joined it. Some familiar faces will be driving MINI cars and buggies this year as well while new ones are added to the roster. The 2020 Dakar Rally will take place between January 5 and January 17 and will see Stephane Peterhansel start in a MINI alongside his co-driver, Paulo Fiuza. Peterhansel, as you may know, is the current record holder for most wins in the Dakar rally.

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Peterhansel has won the Dakar 13 times in the past – six times on a motorcycle and seven times on four wheels. His successes include the first joint victory for MINI and X-raid in a MINI ALL4 Racing in 2012, and the successful defense of his title the following year. He had originally planned to contest the Dakar Rally 2020 with his wife Andrea Peterhansel in the co-driver seat. However, she has been forced to sit this rally out on health grounds.

Alongside Peterhansel you may also notice other names that wrote history with MINI so far in the Dakar Rally. Among those tackling the iconic event in the four-wheel drive MINI JCW Rally are Jakub ‘Kuba’ Przygonski and his co-driver Timo Gottschalk, as well as Orlando Terranova and Bernardo ‘Ronnie’ Graue.

Two-time winner and former world rally champion Carlos Sainz and his co-driver Lucas Cruz are also counting on the further-developed MINI JCW Buggy and the support of MINI Motorsport partner X-raid.

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The Dakar Rally 2020 consists of twelve stages, with the route following roughly 7,500 kilometers from Jeddah to Al-Quiddia via the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh, where the competitors will have a rest day. About 5,000 kilometers of the route through the country’s deserts will be against the clock.