Hirvonen to spearhead Mini's 2017 Dakar assault
The X-Raid Mini squad has confirmed its driver line-up for the 2017 Dakar Rally, with Mikko Hirvonen returning to the event for a second time to spearhead the British marque's campaign.
Former WRC star Hirvonen made his Dakar debut last year with X-Raid, finishing fourth overall with a single stage win to his name.
As per this year, the Finn will be partnered by veteran co-driver Michel Perin for his second tilt at the South-American based race at the wheel of Mini's ALL4 Racing machine.
“I’m really happy and excited to participate to the Dakar for the second time," said Hirvonen. "I think I learned a lot from this race last year and we’ve been working a lot with the team this year as well to be as ready as we can.
"I know it will be a big challenge again but I can’t wait to be on the start line and see what we can do.”
Joining Hirvonen at X-Raid is Saudi driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi, who took a stage win on his Dakar debut in 2015 driving for his own Yazeed Racing Toyota squad.
He switches across from the Toyota stable to join Mini for 2017, with the two highest-profile members of the X-Raid squad from 2016, Nasser Al-Attiyah and Nani Roma, going in the opposite direction.
Completing the primary three-car X-Raid line-up is American Bryce Menzies, a Dakar novice best known for his Trophy Truck exploits in the US-based SCORE and TORC series.
In addition, X-Raid will also support five other crews in 2017 - Orlando Terranova, Kuba Przygonski, Boris Garafulic, Mohammad Abu-Issa and Stephan Schott all contesting Dakar in a Mini ALL4 Racing.
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