MINI John Cooper Works Rally ride: Cuba Gas

We are in the middle of nowhere and that is a good thing. Around us: Sand, mountain Sand. A dune landscape out of a Science Fiction movie, so bleak and empty of people, that it evokes deep in one’s own escape instincts. Full throttle and away, somewhere where there is water and Vegetation – or at least paved roads. Whom it here in the Peruvian desert has ended, not much more than the cautious retreat into milder climes.

Or as we, sitting on the passenger seat of a MINI John Cooper Works Rally, and looks on in disbelief, as Jakub Przygonski leaves the hostile Sand-masses of power to the four driven wheels to the track. It is at the beginning of January and the MINI-rally-X-Raid Team has gathered two days before the Start of the Dakar rally in 2018 in the no-man’s land 50 miles behind Lima, to his vehicles, a final function test.

The so-called Shake down the rally Teams can train on a defined section of the actual Route in advance and last fine-tuning on the cars. We had the exclusive opportunity to accompany the private rally the Crew around team Manager Sven Quandt at the first few meters of the toughest off-road event in the world.

Muscle Packed, and attack is funny the Mini John Cooper Works Rally in temporarily between the accompanying Trucks open Camp. The body is reminiscent of the standard Mini Countryman, but to a copy, the white of his SUV-origin sent through a fitness Studio to conceal membership.

Mini John Cooper Works Rally: six-cylinder Diesel with 340 HP and 800 Nm

Under the ultra-light Carbon-Kevlar shell also pure rally technology is then: With 340 HP and 800 Nm of torque, the TwinPower can enough six-cylinder Turbodiesel from the BMW via a sequential six-speed racing transmission, everything by ploughing, resulting in the four driven Studs as a substrate. Approximately 1,850 pounds of the Mini John Cooper Works Rally racing weighs. That’s the theory.

An X-Raid technicians means that now is the time to exchange a T-Shirt and pants in broth 30 degrees against a well-padded race suit. A few minutes later, we climb into the blue-and red-Orlen-Mini with start number 312, the working unit of the Polish rally racer Jakub Przygonski, who shall, after the various Dakar-bid on the bike now for the third Time at the wheel of a car part. “Cuba,” the 32-Year-old is called here, has already completed some of the training rounds, and seems completely relaxed – even though he had two hard weeks in the Dakar-with a completely uncertain outcome.

Well-versed in Cuba in the purist Carbon Cockpit a couple of switches and awakens the rough hissing heart of the rally-Countryman. We are firmly lashed in the Rennsitzen and know that we will learn to appreciate the still disturbing perceived lack of freedom of movement for the next few km.

Finally, the Mini John Cooper Works Rally, marched on the course, yet very well-behaved at a walking pace – and then no more. Cuba on the Gas. Full throttle. The four tires bite into the Sand as each loose grain was Rennasphalt a Meter. Droning, gear-shrieking and traction slobbering shoots of the off-roader in the desert, and the first shallow dunes rise with a relaxed arrogance, and two depths trace back to the deep groove behind.

It has been a wild Ride over a Rock-strewn valley-level, which disperses the in our highway-drenched head of the stored physical experience follows also declared invalid and new, unreal impressions overrides. Supposedly smooth sections of track in the desert sand to the swinging challenge for the massive spring legs, while the Dakar-Mini deep excavated rubble-by trips behind as if they were an Illusion, tactics of the Peruvian hinterland, made the move to human intruders unequivocally to Reverse.

Then Cuba to return actually. At least, almost. A targeted Acceleration throws the Mini John Cooper Works Rally at a 90-degree angle on a flat ridge. Slides, Sighing, Shifting. The tachometer above an empty Info screen is recommended every couple of seconds of noise at the end of gear change, the digital speedometer is rushing into the three-digit range. With over 160 km/h, we shoot all of a sudden a huge mountain of Sand, let’s just, let’s cross the long, drawn-out four-wheel-Drift.

The slope angle is steeper and the gravity makes it more and more clearly, what you would do with Cuba, and the rally Mini, we would not have the off-road capability of a rally prototypes and the driving experience of an eight-time Dakar participant on our page. At some point, the yellow Sand-masses disappear from our field of vision and there is only blue sky. Without reference points, without the prospect of solid ground. We lift off and let the all of the obscuring dust, the desert and the adventure of the Dakar rally in 2018 for a Moment behind us. Then the impact.

Cracking the Mini dives into the Sand, back into the harsh reality. Endless spring way welcome us, once again, relatively gently in this hostile wasteland. It’s all the same. Only the instinct to Flee – we left on Board of the Mini John Cooper Works Rally 2018 behind us.

Jonas Eling

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