Harry Hunt puts in best-ever performance on Rallye Oilibya du Maroc

Harry Hunt puts in best-ever performance on Rallye Oilibya du Maroc

13.10.2015: MINI UK Brand Ambassador Harry Hunt has completed the challenging

MINI UK Brand Ambassador Harry Hunt has completed the challenging Rallye Oilibya du Maroc with one of his best-ever performances in a rally car, after taking on all the recent Dakar Rally winners over five gruelling days.

From a mammoth 84-car entry list, there were only two Dakar rookies in the final top 10 and both of them were driving a MINI. One was Mikko Hirvonen – the winner of 15 world championship rallies, who has finished in the top three of the WRC six times – and the other was Harry, just two places behind him.

Also competing in Morocco was nine-time world rally champion Sebastien Loeb – the most successful driver in the history of the sport – and two-time world rally champion Carlos Sainz, underlining the quality of the field.

Harry finished ahead of both of them in the final standings: classified seventh overall, third MINI, and runner-up Dakar rookie behind Hirvonen.

It proved to be a thoroughly successful week for MINI, as this year’s Dakar winner Nasser Al-Attiyah took first place and the remaining six MINI ALL4 Racing crews all finished the latest round of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies, with four in the top 10.

Harry said:
“It was a brilliant rally, but to be honest I just stuck to my own pace and didn’t worry too much about what the others were doing.

This rally was all about Dakar preparation for me, and finding out what the right pace was to drive at over two weeks in South America.

I think the terrain was quite representative of Dakar, so this rally was definitely more of a test than a competition for me. We just tried to drive comfortably within ourselves from start to finish, and not make any mistakes.”

Nonetheless, in the sections of stage where he felt confident, Harry was able to set times that were in the top two. Alongside his ultra-experienced German co-driver Andy Schulz, Harry negotiated the five stages with no serious setbacks apart from punctures, taking in over 1,300 kilometres. The route was a mixture of stony tracks and sand dunes, making it the perfect preparation ground for the Dakar Rally.

The adventure started for Harry on the very first day of the rally, when he stopped to help Cross Country debutant Loeb, whose car had a fire. “I don’t think he’d actually noticed, but luckily we were able to use the sentinel warning system to let him know that something was wrong,” added Harry.

“We got out of the car to help, but there was not a lot we could do. For my part, I’d like to thank MINI UK and the X-Raid team who once again prepared our car so well for this very tough rally. I’m really pleased with the result and this win has given me a real confidence boost ahead of the big event: the Dakar.”

Harry also completed one day of additional testing in Morocco after the event but is already back in the UK to continue his preparations for the Dakar Rally, which gets underway on 3 January 2016.

 Anthony Peacock ,  Carla McAlpine- photos Mini

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/harry-hunt-rallye-oilibya-du-maroc-performance---142175.html

13.10.2015 / MaP

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