|Dakar Rally 2015: Van Merksteijn junior makes his Dakar Rally debut in a Mini.|
The first step has been made: Van Merksteijn Motorsport has purchased the ultimate car to compete in cross-country rallies, a X-raid Mini All4 Racing. Throughout the year is used to build up the team and get used to the car. And all of that with one goal in mind: To take part in the Dakar Rally 2015.
In Qatar last year, for the first time in his life Peter van Merksteijn junior participated in a cross-country rally. "That tasted morish," said the driver from the eastern part of the Netherlands. In the past he achieved good results in the World Rally Championship and twice won the Hellendoorn Rally in his own country. "The Dakar is the next challenge in my career."
The past two years, Van Merksteijn junior got the chance to see the Dakar Rally at first hand. In South America he closely followed the performances of his father. "Unfortunately both times senior didn’t reach the finish. That has to change."
A team from Van Merksteijn Motorsport with both father and son at the start of the toughest rally in the world, and with its own service crew, still is the goal. "Whether we will succeed, we need to see. At least I will participate in this edition. And with the best car that is available at this time."
Currently the Mini All4 Racing almost is invincible in cross-country rallying. It won the last three editions of Le Dakar. Not only the car is a fast one, it also is near-indestructible. In the 2014-edition of the Dakar Rally eleven Mini’s were at the starting list, and all eleven reached the finish. "Our car is built by X-Raid, the German team that is responsible for all the successes. It is equipped with the latest specifications."
The figures speak for themselves, the 3.0-liter twin-turbo diesel engine delivers more than 300 bhp and 700 Nm of torque, enough to give the 1,900-kilogram car a top speed of 180 km/h. And just remember, that’s while jumping through the desert sands and dancing on the rocky roads through the Andes Mountains.
To get used to the car, for the rest of the year there will be various tests. "Together with navigator Eddy Chevaillier I will at least participate in the Rally of Morocco in October. And then on to South America," Van Merksteijn said.
2014/05/18 | 23:37 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/VM