Dakar Rally legends Cyril Despres, Stéphane Peterhansel and Carlos Sainz will line up in the 2019 edition for the all-new X-raid MINI JCW Team. The former Team Peugeot Total drivers have accrued an astonishing 20 Dakar victories between them on four and two wheels since Peterhansel's first in 1991. Sainz won the second of his two titles this year in South America with all three drivers switching from Team Peugeot Total to race a MINI John Cooper Works Buggy. The 2019 edition will see the trio race the rear-wheel drive car that has a top speed of 190kph and has been tested by X-raid’s seasoned mechanics and engineers. The off-road machine will be put through its paces by Despres and Sainz at the six-stage Rallye du Maroc starting on October 4 over the arduous Morocco dunes. Spaniard Sainz, who will return next January with trusty co-driver Lucas Cruz, said: "There are things you can only learn about a car during race, so let’s see how we perform here. I’m convinced we’ll learn a lot at Rally du Maroc and second to that we’ll try to win. It’s a perfect opportunity for us." Despres, who already has five Dakar bike titles, will be looking to earn his maiden car victory after impressing with two Silk Way Rally wins. The Frenchman, who travels to Peru with co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret, added: "It’s a huge benefit to be in this new MINI team with Stéphane and Carlos. In my experience the best teachers are those who have the most experience to share." Peterhansel's seven Dakar car wins make him the joint-most successful competitor in a single category alongside Vladimir Chagin’s truck heroics for Kamaz. The Frenchman, who also has a staggering six bike wins, declared: "There is more power there than before. The shock absorbers have also had a big upgrade. The third aspect to mention is a reduction of weight, this has made the buggy faster."

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