Rallye du Maroc: Przygonski secures 2018 World Cup victory for Mini
Two cars built by X-raid finished on the podium at the Rallye du Maroc. Kuba Przygonski (POL) and Tom Colsoul (BEL) ended the penultimate event of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies in second place in their MINI John Cooper Works Rally. Cyril Despres and Jean-Paul Cottret (both FRA) took third place on their debut in the MINI John Cooper Works Buggy. Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz (both ESP) had no luck at the Rallye du Maroc and came home in 24th place.
For Przygonski, the rally in Morocco proved to be the pivotal point in the battle for the World Cup title. With his closest rival, Vladimir Vasilyev, retiring early from the rally, Przygonski now holds an unassailable lead in the FIA standings. The 33-year-old took a very deliberate approach to the rally. He avoided taking any unnecessary risks and kept his head throughout, even after Vasilyev’s retirement. He also took a stage win on the third stage around the town of Erfoud.
The two MINI JCW Buggies were also able to take one stage victory each and three of the five possible stage victories went to X-raid. After finishing second on stage two, Despres and his co-driver Cottret took their maiden stage win in their first race in a buggy of the X-raid MINI JCW Team. It was to prove a difficult rally for Sainz and Cruz. The buggy is still currently in development, and technical issues resulted in the Spaniard losing time. He did show what could have been with a stage win on the final day.
Sven Quandt “Congratulations to Kuba and Tom on winning the World Cup. Both have improved steadily over the course of the year and have had some superb results. I am excited to see how they get on at the Dakar. I think an upset may be on the cards.
We have a year of development behind us with the MINI JCW Buggy, and we can see that we have the speed to compete at the very front of the field. We have learned a bit about the durability of some of the components and still have a bit of homework to do. However, we are very happy with the performance of both MINI JCW Buggies. Cyril can also be pleased with his result.
•Kuba Przygonski “We had hoped for second place in this rally, with this starting field, but we did not expect it. It is really great. We have improved consistently this year, as proven again by our performance here. I am very happy that we were able to wrap up the World Cup title. It has been a great year for us, but also a difficult one – we have spent almost 100 hours in the car over the course of all the rallies. The MINI was superb, and we had no problems. Our car has had the same stickers on all season, which proves that we never had a crash.”
Cyril Despres “It was a good race for us, but not an easy one, and was a good opportunity to continue to test the buggy. Unfortunately, we were no longer in contention for the win after day three. ‘Polo’ Cottret and I are getting on very well, but we still have to improve the way we work together. It takes time for the driver and co-driver to really bond. The MINI JCW Buggy is very good and fast – much faster than we expected.