MINI UK ambassador Harry Hunt off to flying start in first half of Dakar

MINI UK ambassador Harry Hunt off to flying start in first half of Dakar

12.01.2016: British driver Harry Hunt has made an excellent start to his debut Dakar Rally, sitting

British driver Harry Hunt has made an excellent start to his debut Dakar Rally, sitting 13th overall at the halfway point and setting times that are just off the top 10.


The 27-year-old, who finished on the podium at his very first cross country event less than a year ago in Abu Dhabi, is a MINI UK brand ambassador and former class champion in the World Rally Championship and Intercontinental Rally Challenge.


Now he has made the switch to long-distance endurance events, driving a MINI ALL4 Racing that is capable of going anywhere. The Dakar Rally, which has run through South America since 2009, is renowned for being one of the toughest motorsport events in the world – putting the emphasis on performance and reliability from cars as well as physical fitness from drivers.


It’s an event where experience is key, which takes years to build up. But on his very first attempt at the epic event, Harry is already in front of many more seasoned competitors. This has been through a combination of perfect consistency, expert guidance from his co-driver Andy Schulz, and raw talent in a huge variety of conditions.


Temperatures on this year’s Dakar have ranged from 38 degrees centigrade to close to freezing point, while the terrain encountered has included sand, mud and rocks – at altitudes that have peaked at an incredible 4750 metres.


Despite driving comfortably within his limits, Harry has regularly set stage times within the top 15 and is now knocking on the door of the top 10 overall, as the rally enters its gruelling second week.


“It’s been an amazing experience and above all I want to get to the finish,” said Harry. “So far, this has probably been the most intense week of my life and I’m learning so much every day. We’ve been trying to drive at a good pace, which is not too quick and not too slow, and we’ve managed to steer clear of any major problems. The car, the team and my co-driver Andy have all been fantastic. I’m looking forward to the next half of the rally now.”


Harry’s MINI carries a distinctive Union Flag livery that makes it easy to spot in the desert dust, and his exploits have already been featured on Eurosport – which provides live coverage and highlights of the Dakar – as well as in the national and international media.


If Harry succeeds in getting to the finish of the event, he will be one of the youngest competitors to do so in a factory-backed car. The Dakar is all about experience – but Harry is aiming to fast track the whole learning process.



Q&A Harry Hunt


How has the first week of Dakar gone for you?


HH: “It’s been beyond expectations really. It’s just been the most amazing experience that requires so much concentration, and of course a real adventure. Obviously I don’t get to see much on the stage as I’m quite busy but on the liaison sections the scenery is just fantastic: some of the most unbelievable landscapes I’ve ever seen.



How hard are you pushing to set these times?


HH: “That’s always the art of cross country: working out how hard you can get away with pushing. On the one hand, you want to set the best stage times that you can, but on the other hand it’s a 10,000-kilometre race and you need to get the car to the finish.


So you need to work out how you strike that balance. On average, I’d say that you’re around 80% most of the time and pushing a bit harder or a bit less depending on road and weather conditions.”



How difficult is it to adapt to the MINI and all the different terrains you experience?

HH: “The MINI is actually a very easy car to drive, although being a 3.0-litre twin turbo diesel you obviously have to adapt your driving style to suit the engine characteristics best.


It’s designed to give you a wide performance window in quite a variety of conditions, but the limiting factor is more the tyre:


when it’s really muddy the tread blocks can’t evacuate the water and mud quick enough so you end up aquaplaning on a surface of muck. We’re not allowed to cut the tyres or have a different pattern, so you just have to live with it.”



How big a role does the co-driver play?

HH: “The co-driver plays an extremely important role, even more so than in stage rallying. Andy Schulz, who is alongside me, is vastly experienced and that’s helped me a lot. Particularly in the second week of the rally, which we have just begun, there’s a lot of quite complex navigation that can make the difference between doing well and badly. I may be the driver, but this is definitely a team sport.”



Are you suffering physically, with the long days and the heat and the altitude?


HH: “Luckily it’s not too bad: the training programme I did before coming here seems to have worked well. In fact, I could probably even have done a bit less heat training as the weather’s been cooler than I expected, but there’s still a long way to go and everyone says that it could be really hot this week. I’m definitely tired at the end of each day, but I’m coping fine physically.”



Have you had any particular problems?


HH: “Nothing out of the ordinary: a couple of punctures, and we've been caught in peoples’ dust a few times, but that’s about it. Reliability-wise, the car has been absolutely perfect, which has allowed me to focus just on driving and gaining experience, which is why we’re here. For a first Dakar, I’m pretty pleased up to now.”




What's the plan for the rest of this week?

HH: “We’re not going to be doing anything massively different to what we’ve done so far, but the rally changes character a bit, with more complex navigation and open sand dunes, so we need to be careful. Above all, we want to finish and do the best possible job for MINI UK, to repay all their support and faith in us.


At the rest day I had a chance to look at all the other messages of support that have come in for us, and I’m really grateful for every one. It gives me added motivation to perform to the very best of our abilities.”



Carla McAlpine- photo MINI

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/mini-uk-ambassador-harry-hunt-first-half-dakar---144514.html

12.01.2016 / MaP

More News

Carlos Sainz wins Dakar stage 9 and leads the rally
12.01.2016
After a shortened but action-packed stage today, the PEUGEOT 2008 DKR still occupies first and second places in the overall classification. Carlos Sainz now leads in front of Stéphane Peterhansel.     • Because of extre more >>
The heat is on at Dakar as Nasser Al-Attiyah consolidates third place
12.01.2016
Nasser Al-Attiyah & Mathieu Baumel race the ninth stage at Dakar © Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content PoolQatari driver Nasser Al-Attiyah predicted that the desert stages in the Fiambala region would prove decisive in the outcome of the ral more >>
Ford's Xavier Pons excels in the heat and sand of the shortened ninth Dakar special around Belén
12.01.2016
2016 Dakar RallyBelén - Belén Special stage: 285km (shortened to finish at PC2): Liaison sections: 111 km•    Daniel Mas Valdes waits for assistance after da more >>
CARS Dakar Rally stage 9 result
12.01.2016
Dakar Rally 2016January 12th - stage 9 - 285kmBelen to Belen1    303    SAINZ (ESP), CRUZ (ESP)    PEUGEOT    028:05:10        00:00:002    302    PETERHANSEL (FRA), COTTRET (FRA)    PEUGEOT    more >>
BIKES Dakar Rally stage 9 results
12.01.2016
Dakar Rally 2016January 12th - stage 9 - 285kmBelen to Belen1    003    PRICE (AUS)    KTM    029:17:43        00:00:002    005    SVITKO (SVK)    KTM    029:37:29    00:19:46 &nbs more >>
TRUCKS Dakar Rally stage 9 results
12.01.2016
Dakar Rally 2016January 12th - stage 9 - 285kmBelen to Belen1    501    DE ROOY (NLD), TORRALLARDONA (ESP), RODEWALD (POL)    IVECO    027:50:35        00:00:002    502    NIKOLAEV (RUS), YAKOVLEV (RUS), RYBAKOV (RUS) & more >>
QUADS Dakar Rally stage 9 result
12.01.2016
Dakar Rally 2016January 12th - stage 9 - 285kmBelen to Belen1    274    BARAGWANATH (ZAF)    YAMAHA    002:40:12        00:00:002    253    PATRONELLI (ARG)    YAMAHA    002:46:17    00 more >>
Comeback from Carlos Sainz for victory at Dakar stage 9
12.01.2016
Dakar Rally 2016January 12th - stage 9 - 285kmBelen to BelenWith the best time at CP2, Carlos Sainz has won another stage, his 29th in all, for the Peugeot team. The Spaniard has saved the day for the French team wh more >>
Gerard de Rooy takes Dakar truck stage 9 victory
12.01.2016
Dakar Rally 2016January 12th - stage 9 - 285kmBelen to Belen11:47 : Trucks: De Rooy opens a gap at CP1Gérard de Rooy looks well set to pick up another stage victory today. At the fi more >>
Bikes: Toby Price wins Dakar stage 9
12.01.2016
Dakar Rally 2016January 12th - stage 9 - 285kmBelen to Belen11:53 : Bikes: Toby Price winsFollowing the decision to stop the race at CP2, Toby Price (KTM), having reached CP2 in the lead, is declared the day’s winner. He thus bea more >>
Quads: Copetti wins Dakar stage 9
12.01.2016
Dakar Rally 2016January 12th - stage 9 - 285kmBelen to Belen13:05 : Quads: Copetti wins!Two Argentineans may hide another… After the Patronelli brothers, today was the turn of more >>
Last news from Dakar shortened stage 9
12.01.2016
Dakar Rally 2016January 12th - stage 9 - 285kmBelen to Belen12:48 : Cars: a comeback from Sainz for victoryWith the best time at CP2, Carlos Sainz has won another st more >>
Dakar stage 9 - last news
12.01.2016
Dakar Rally 2016January 12th - stage 9 - 285kmBelen to Belen    19:26 : Belen-Belen: navigation again    Although this stage might seem simple in l more >>
Drama on all fronts for Desert Wings as Dakar fires back into life
12.01.2016
The Red Bull Desert Wings came flying out of the blocks today after an invigorating rest day. The Dakar’s final week commenced with dune racing as the dimensions of the contest changed from flat-out speed to navigational challenges on the 393km timed route from Salta to Belén. more >>
Peterhansel takes the Dakar lead once more as Loeb is delayed
12.01.2016
Action day in the Team Peugeot Total as Sébastien Loeb rolled over and gives the lead to his team mate Stéphane Peterhansel.         • Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena were the rally leaders as the crews left Sa more >>
Mixed fortunes for Toyota Gazoo Racing SA on Dakar Stage 8
12.01.2016
Stage 8 of Dakar 2016 brought mixed results for Toyota Gazoo Racing SA, though all three Toyota Hilux race vehicles made it safely through the tough, 393 km route between the Argentine city of Salta and the town of Belén. The stage was eventually won by Nasser Al-Attiya more >>
Yamaha's Riders Stand Firm Against Tough Competition
12.01.2016
Dakar Starts Second Week   The Yamaha riders are back on track! After a day off yesterday, today's stage marked the entry into the second part of the rally and a change in programme for the extreme enduro competitors. They faced the first dune secti more >>
Al-Attiyah onto provisional podium as Dakar Rally heads into the desert
12.01.2016
photo caption:  Nasser Al-Attiyah & Mathieu Baumel race the eighth stage at Dakar © Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content PoolAs the Dakar Rally entered its second week, following the rest day in Salta, competitors headed into the legendary Fiambala san more >>
Ford's Pons and Mas Valdes get their first taste of sand dunes on Dakar stage 8
12.01.2016
... between Salta and Belen2016 Dakar RallyMonday, January 11th, 2016 Salta - BelénSpecial stage: 393km: Liaison sections: 373km•    Xavier Pons pas more >>
Red Bull KTM's Toby Price takes another victory in Dakar Rally Stage Eight
12.01.2016
KTM RACING NEWS: DAKAR RALLY STAGE EIGHTRed Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Toby Price on Monday resumed his Dakar Rally challenge in Argentina with another stage win as riders set out on the second half more >>
Stage win for Al-Attiyah, Loeb crashes
12.01.2016
Nasser Al Attiyah has brought an end to the Peugeot domination of this 38th Dakar. At the end of the stage, the leading Mini triumphed ahead of the two Peugeots driven by Carlos Sainz, 12 seconds behind, and Stéphane Peterhansel, 31 seconds behind. As for more >>
Nasser Al Attiyah takes Dakar stage 8 victory, Loeb in trouble - results
11.01.2016
18:01 : Cars: Gordon at a standstill Due to technical problems on the second part of the special, Robby Gordon has ground to a halt at the side of the tracks. The American is trying to solve his problems in order to reach the finish more >>
TRUCKS Dakar Stage 8 for De Rooy - results
11.01.2016
Dakar Rally 2016January 11th - stage 8 - 394kmSalta to Belen Trucks: problem free for De RooyGérard De Rooy (Iveco) has picked up another stage victory after a troub more >>
Patronelli brothers on top at Quads Dakar stage 8 - results
11.01.2016
Dakar Rally 2016January 11th - stage 8 - 394kmSalta to BelenQuads: a double for PatronelliHaving led unhindered from the start to the finish of the special, the Patronelli brothers have pi more >>
Toby Price win Dakar stage 8 and lead - Bikes result
11.01.2016
Dakar Rally 2016January 11th - stage 8 - 394kmSalta to Belen15:04 : Bikes: Price wins and takes the rally leadToby Price (KTM) has won the 8th stage between Salta and Belen. Totally i more >>
The cars start the second section of Dakar stage 8
11.01.2016
Dakar Rally 2016January 11th - stage 8 - 394kmSalta to BelenThe cars have started the second section of the day’s special. Following the demonstration by Nasser Al Attiyah on more >>
First bikes news from Dakar stage 8
11.01.2016
Dakar Rally 2016January 11th - stage 8 - 394kmSalta to Belen 08:49 : Problems for Michael Metge? Michael Metge, fourth to begin the day’s special, seems to exper more >>
Nasser Al Attiyah alone against Peugeot
11.01.2016
Dakar Rally 2016To say that the Mini team has been dominated by far on the first half of the 2016 edition is a big understatement. Although before the start Nasser Al Attiyah stated loud and clear that the Peugeot drivers were not a worry to more >>
Can Loeb take Dakar Rally 2016 victory ?
11.01.2016
The hard work now starts for Peugeot with the second week of the rally. Having won all the stages contested, the French team has been very impressive and many believe that victory is already in the bag. This is perhaps the case, but the main question t more >>
Toyota: can they make it a three horse race?
11.01.2016
Whilst the official team is not lacking in ambition, its form on the first half of the 2016 edition has not been exceptional. However, it has been far from catastrophic. As proof, De Villiers, Poulter and Alrajhi are in 6th, 7th and 8th place in the general more >>
Bikes performance review in Dakar Rally 2016
11.01.2016
Dakar Rally 2016Sherco: the French outsiderWaiting to pounce in the general standings, Alain Duclos in 9th place, 30’32’’ behind the leader, and his team-mate Juan Pedrero Garcia 10th and 31’45’’ behind, have both enjoyed a good first week for the French constructor. Third on the second stage an more >>
South Racing's Marco Bulacia and Peter Jerie deliver impressive Dakar first week
10.01.2016
... in punishing Dakar Rally 2016•    Six special stages remain across Argentina this week to the finish in Rosario Bolivian driver Marco Bulacia and Czech-born Australian counterpart Peter Jerie have produc more >>
Yamaha's Riders are Ready to Tackle the Second Dakar Rally Week
10.01.2016
Today's seventh stage of the Dakar Rally was crucial for Yamaha's riders as they were strongly committed to reversing the order that was established in the first days of the competition, before the rest day in Salta. However, stormy weather hampered their efforts when the spec more >>
Ford Ranger duo Xavier Pons and Daniel Mas Valdes look forward to second half
10.01.2016
... of Dakar Rally out of Salta2016 Dakar Rally Salta rest day  Spanish driver Xavier Pons and Chilean Daniel Mas Valdes are refreshed after the traditional rest day at more >>
PEUGEOT one-two-three at Dakar halfway point
10.01.2016
Dakar Rally - Sunday, January 10, 2016What a difference a year makes! This time last year, the brand new Peugeot team arrived at the rest day halfway through the Dakar in eighth and 41st positions. The third PEUGEOT 2008DKR, driven by Carlos Sainz, h more >>
Dakar 2016 halfway mark: Red Bull KTM wins four of the first seven stages
10.01.2016
KTM RACING : DAKAR REACHES HALFWAY MARK The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team has closed out the first week of the 2016 Dakar Rally with a win in stage seven, this time thanks to the tea more >>
Carlos Sainz's turn
10.01.2016
DAKAR / LEG 7 / Salta: 9 january 2016     After Sébastien Loeb and Stéphane Peterhansel, it was Carlos Sainz’s turn to score his first Dakar stage win at the wheel of a PEUGEOT 2008 DKR as he finished ahead of Loeb/Elena. T more >>
Méo wins stage on Dakar debut, Sainz maintains Peugeotís hot streak
10.01.2016
Violent storms returned to the Dakar Rally during a turbulent seventh stage that saw more lightening quick times set by the Red Bull Desert Wings. Heavy rain on the Bolivia/Argentina border did nothing to dampen the speed of Carlos Sainz as he ensured the Peugeot 2008DKR16 was the fastest more >>
Sebastien Loeb lead after Dakar stage 7
10.01.2016
Loeb regains lead as Walkner’s Dakar ends earlySpain’s Carlos Sainz scored victory in stage seven of the Dakar Rally on Saturday as his Team Peugeot Total team mate Sebastien Loeb regained the overall lead. Sainz, the more >>

Kategorien

2001-2023 automobilsport.com full copyright