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The MINI ALL4 Racing team celebrated a big win on the podium of this year's Hungarian Baja, with Finland’s Mikko Hirvonen and Frenchman Michel Périn in the top spot, and fellow crew members Bryce Menzies and Peter Mortensen in second place.
Following a spectacular opening event, this 16th edition of the Hungarian Baja saw two days of challenging long-distance rally action over three Special Stages. It was a tough competition that saw MINI ALL4 Racing cars achieve hard-earned victories.
The rolling landscape of rocks, streams, jumps, gravel and hard-packed terrain in the Hungarian Baja proved to be a severe challenge for all competitors – a scenario relished by the MINI ALL4 Racing crews, but especially by the experienced service and development team within the X-raid camp.
A single position on the winner’s podium was an achievement in itself but securing two places was the icing on the cake for the ambitious MINI ALL4 crew, who are now setting their sights on the Dakar Rally 2017, the ultimate gruelling race.
Hirvonen and co-driver Périn started the Hungarian Baja with an impressive second place in the opening Super Special Stage on Friday evening (12th Sept). By the end of Saturday evening, after Special Stages 2 & 3, the 'Flying Finn' had placed his team at the head of the leader board. For Hirvonen, it was his first ever World Cup cross-country rally win.
By keeping a cool head and working in perfect harmony with his co-driver, MINI ALL4 Racing #2 completed Special Stage 4 of the 675 km event in first place, with an obviously delighted Hirvonen at the wheel.
“We had a great weekend,” said Hirvonen. “Everything went perfectly – although I did not expect the Hungarian Baja to be so demanding, so difficult, especially when I saw the length of the stages, which I thought were going to be more like sprints. But they were really technical in places and narrow, and with the rain and mud they proved to be difficult. But everything worked perfectly. I’m really happy to get my first victory with Michel and the MINI ALL4 Racing team.”
US teammates Bryce Menzies and co-driver Peter Mortensen were equally delighted with their second place finish, and with good reason – this is only the third competitive race for Menzies at the controls of a MINI ALL4 Racing car. Co-driver Mortensen was wearing an even bigger smile because this was his first marathon rally race in a MINI ALL4 Racing vehicle.
Menzies: “Leading up to this race we didn’t know what to expect. It was really challenging – from the high-speed roads, the trees, and then the open grass fields where it was really rough. I think we did really well: the whole team and, of course, the MINI ALL4 Racing. I’m looking forward to the next rally.”
As a development event, the Hungarian Baja proved to be an ideal venue. The differing terrain provided useful insight for the development teams of technical service supplier X-raid – but especially in preparation for the fast-approaching Dakar Rally 2017.
We are more than certain that the MINI ALL4 Racing team are keeping their eyes on the ultimate prize.
In the 60s Minis modified by John Cooper took the motorsport world by storm. With three wins at the famous Monte Carlo Rally, the brand’s racing credentials were cemented forever in the minds of drivers and fans alike.
Our racing pedigree lives on today. Every John Cooper Works model in the MINI range is built for jaw-dropping performance, with bold styling and a turbocharged engine packing up to 231bhp (170kW) of power. They’re MINIs, dialled up to the max.
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