Mini’s made a mad Dakar buggy

By topgear ,

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Mini is no stranger to the Dakar rally. It’s had Countryman rally cars – well, hugely capable desert racers that vaguely resemble a Countryman – for several years now, with a four-year winning streak between 2012 and 2015.

The 2018 Dakar Rally will be no different. Only it will. Alongside the familiar Countryman-esque rally car will be a rather barmy buggy. The Mini John Cooper Works Buggy, to be precise.

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Rear-wheel drive to the Countryman’s all-wheel drive, its less grippy transmission allows it to benefit from more lenient rules. It should be a whole heap of fun, too. Those rear wheels are powered by a 3.0-litre straight-six diesel engine with 335bhp and 590lb ft of torque. Which, incidentally, its AWD relation gets, too.

The Buggy consists of a tubular steel frame with carbon-reinforced plastic and Kevlar bodywork, which keeps traditional Mini design cues in mind. In fact, those round headlights and its smaller shape arguably make it look more like a Mini than the more traditional car it’ll be rallying alongside.

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Mini will take three buggies and four cars to the Dakar, with former WRC driver Mikko Hirvonen among the Buggy’s drivers and two-time Dakar winner Nani Roma in one of the cars. Which of the two would you rather compete in?