MINI is one of rallying’s most iconic and celebrated names. While its success on the stages was achieved before the advent of the World Rally Championship in 1973, the make’s giant-killing exploits in the 1960s on events such as the Monte Carlo Rally is the stuff of legend.
Returning to the sport after an absence of almost 50 years, the Prodrive-built John Cooper Works WRCs, complete with their BMW Motorsport 1.6-litre turbo engines, were undoubtedly one of the highlights of the 2011 season and sent shockwaves through the sport when they broke cover on Rally Italia last May.
Kris Meeke was third fastest on only the car’s second ever stage in the WRC and the performances got better and better as the season progressed, with Dani Sordo finishing third on Rallye Deutschland in August and then falling just 6.3 seconds short of victory on Rallye de France Alsace two months later.
MINI is again likely to tackle a partial programme of events in 2012 under the guidance of new team principal Dave Wilcock as it prepares for a full title bid in 2013. However, unlike last season it will be eligible for manufacturers’ championship points.
The experienced Sordo is set to be an ever-present in the team’s driver line-up alongside a series of guest pilots. Meeke’s schedule is dependent on additional sponsorship being found.