MINI Countryman Headed to Dakar as Service Car

MINI will once again provide the cars for the X-raid team to defend its championship title from the 2012 Dakar Rally. 

Just like last year, X-raid will take a group of ALL4 Racing cars, but this year a host of MINI Countryman cars will offer support over the nearly 5,000-mile race. Of course, they won’t be quite the same as a standard Countryman coming out of the factory, but all the parts come from the brand’s off-road package, meaning owners can deck their Countryman out to be Dakar-ready.

Then again, the package doesn’t really add any extra off-road credentials. You can add 18-inch wheels and run-flat tires. There’s also silver-colored add-ons for the car’s front and rear ends. Mud flaps are also available, and are possibly the only item geared specifically toward sloppy driving conditions.

Suspension lifts, different gearing or any other modifications to bolster the car’s off-road ability are absent. Regardless, the cars will be trekking through the rally’s notoriously challenging mix of terrain, which probably speaks to the car’s stock capability more than anything.