Mini and Monster Energy clean up at the 2014 Dakar Rally

The Monster Energy X-raid team has scored first, second and third place at this year's Dakar Rally, piloting heavily modified Mini Countrymans.
Spanish driver Nani Roma and co-driver Michel Perin took overall victory at the 35th anniversary of the gruelling race that sees cars, trucks and motorcycles go head-to-head in some of South America's most unforgiving terrain.

Overall winner Nani Roma is one of just three Dakar competitors who has won the race on both a motorcycle and on four-wheels, after previously claiming first place on a bike in 2004.

Stéphane Peterhansel, the most successful drive in Dakar history with 12 titles under his belt, claimed second place in his Mini X-raid machine, while Krzysztof Hołowczyc and co-driver Konstantin Zhiltsov made it a triple win for the Monster team.

The Dakar Rally is not without its controversies, as the demanding course often requires drivers to avoid large rocks, wayward camels and even local residents in their high-powered machines.

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In 2010, the competition came under fire when a female spectator was struck and killed when a vehicle taking part in the race veered off the course during the opening stage.

Argentinian Jorge Martínez Boero also died in the first stage of the 2012 rally after he suffered a cardiac arrest following a nasty fall from his motorcycle.

Take a look at the galleries embedded into the piece that reveal the hostile climates the drivers and machines have to tackle.

The Mini X-raid vehicles produce around 300bhp from their turbocharged 3-litre engines, enabling top speeds of 110mph and torque outputs of a whopping 700Nm.

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