We’re following British driver – and Mini UK brand ambassador – Harry Hunt on the Dakar Rally every day. Having made his mark on the World Rally Championship, 27-year-old Harry is trying something bigger for size: the epic 6000-mile Dakar Rally and the Mini ALL4 Racing.
Sunday 17 January 2016
Unbelievable. 10th overall. We actually did it. To say that it’s beyond my dreams is an understatement: it’s actually even better than anything I thought before coming here. What I’d hoped for was top 20 if we kept our noses clean, but this is such an unpredictable event that you never know exactly how things will turn out.
And it's not as if I came here with a shed load of experience either. But we did a top-10 result, after two weeks and 10,000 kilometres of driving. And someone said that it was the wettest Dakar in recent history.
It was hard, probably the hardest thing I’ve done. But incredibly it was actually quite a straightforward Dakar for us too, if such a thing exists. Nothing really went too badly wrong, we stuck to our pace, and as a result of all that we managed to finish the Dakar in the top 10!
It’s a bit of a dream for me; in fact the whole thing still seems unreal – like it’s happening to someone else. Driving to the finish, getting onto the ramp: the whole experience was actually quite emotional. There are crowds of people there cheering like mad and it’s an unbelievable atmosphere. It suddenly just hits you: the enormity of the whole thing. And we got to the end, in 10th place.
The last stage went in a bit of a blur and then we had the road section to Rosario. There was a lot going through my head at that time, but mainly happiness and relief!
There are a lot of people to than, so apologies if I miss anyone out. Obviously there’s Andy, my co-driver. He’s just been a beacon of calm and wisdom throughout the whole event, and it’s been fantastic to benefit from his experience.
Then I’d like to thank Mini UK for putting their faith in me as a brand ambassador and lending me their support. Last but certainly not least, all my family and friends who have given me so much encouragement throughout the whole adventure. It’s been a privilege to share this amazing experience with them.
What’s next? I’m not sure yet but it’s going to start with a couple of weeks off just to recuperate and come down. It’s going to take me a few days to grasp it. I’m going to stick around South America, because I’ve enjoyed seeing the countries and meeting all these amazing people. It’s a fascinating, welcoming place. And it’s always going to hold very special memories for me, from now. What an amazing day.
Saturday 16 January 2016
So that was the final proper day of the Dakar and for the first time we had an actual mechanical problem, which is something of a rarity as our car has been amazingly reliable.
Our power steering failed towards the end of the stage, which meant that the biceps got a workout. We did around 80 miles with that, but it wasn’t too bad: it’s like normal steering but much stiffer, so you really have to put a lot of effort into it. On a really twisty stage it would be a nuisance but it wasn’t too bad in the end.