Dakar Rally legends Carlos Sainz, Cyril Despres and Stéphane Peterhansel, who have an incredible 20 Dakar wins between them, are preparing for their next South American adventure in a trio of works Mini Motorsport/X-raid John Cooper Works Buggies.

Sainz is the reigning Dakar champion – adding victory in 2018 to his 2010 success. Despres has won the Dakar five times on motorcycles (2005, 2007, 2010, 2012, 2013) before taking to four-wheels in 2015. In less than three years he has already achieved four-wheel rally success, the most notable is twice winning the arduous Silk Way Rally (2016, 2017). Peterhansel is known as ‘Mr Dakar’ for a good reason – having won the Dakar 13 times; six times on a ‘bike and seven times in a car.

This is what the three Dakar legends have to say:

Carlos Sainz: “A new team, a new car, and with them a new challenge. I am very optimistic that we will master this challenge. We are well prepared. I love the challenge of working with, developing and getting the best out of a new car. That is always exciting. I am happy with the Mini John Cooper Works Buggy and we still have time to develop it further.”

Cyril Despres: “I have a new car, a new team and a new co-driver, but the same passion and motivation. I am very much looking forward to lining up in the MINI John Cooper Works Buggy. We will almost exclusively be on sand at the 2019 Dakar. One mistake and it could all be over. There are a lot of opportunities to get bogged down and lose time. The coming Dakar will be extremely intensive and challenging.”

Stéphane Peterhansel: “I have had two victories at the Dakar with X-raid – they are very fond memories. I am happy to return to the team, together with Carlos and Cyril. I was very excited when I climbed into the Mini John Cooper Works Buggy. It is great fun and easy to drive. The next Dakar takes place in one country, but I find Peru a very interesting and nice country. There are big dunes and open desert – that makes the rally very interesting.”

The next Dakar Rally (6-17 January) will take place exclusively in Peru, with 10 stages covering over 3,000 miles of competition – with 70% on sand. Running to a new loop rally-route, the start and finish will be in Lima.

Carlos Sainz, Cyril Despres and Stéphane Peterhansel wear Stilo WRC DES Zero 8860 helmets.