After 8,570 km (5,437 miles) of grueling roads, Stephane Peterhansel and his co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret crossed the finish line of the 2013 Dakar rally at Santiago de Chile first. It was the second consecutive win for the MINI ALL4 Racing and the record 11th Dakar victory for Peterhansel (his fifth with a car, the other six being with motorcycles), who took the lead after the second stage and remained there until the end.
A second MINI, with Leonid Novitskiy and Konstandin Zhiltsov, finished the race third behind the Toyota HiLux of Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz, while a third MINI, driven by Nanni Roma and Michel Perin, followed in fourth place just 8 minutes behind them.
If winning the Dakar for two years in a row is a great result for MINI, finishing this grueling endurance race is, in our eyes, even more remarkable as far as the Race2Recovery team is concerned.
That’s because the Land Rover Defender-based Wildcat racer’s crew was comprised of two U.S. Marines who were disabled in the line of duty.
Yet Major Matt O’Hare and Corporal Phillip Gillespie, the driver and co-pilot of the Race2Recovery team Wildcat, faced all the adversities of the world’s most difficult race and made history as the first disability team to finish the Dakar rally.
“It’s not quite sinking in that we’ve actually done it”, said Major O’Hare. “I’m ecstatic and I’m so proud of the whole team. Our mechanics and support team have kept us in the race and their work and dedication was second to none. To complete the Dakar rally is an incredible achievement in itself, but to become the first ever disability team to cross that finish line lifts the achievement to a whole other level.”
You can view an image gallery as well as videos of the 2013 Dakar rally right after the break.
By Andrew Tsaousis