With the name Mini once famous for its victories in the World Rally Championship, the company is set to make its return into the rally fraternity next year with a car run by the Prodrive team.
It has been rumoured for several months that a deal was set to run a limited calender for 2011 using Mini’s new Countryman. The WRC regulation turbocharged 1.6 liter four-wheel-drive, will then follow a full season in 2012. A report by Autocar confirms that Mini is keen to exploit the historic victories, including those of the Monte Carlo Rally.
Although specific dates are yet to be confirmed for its first competitive outing, an insider suggests that the Rally Sardinia next year is the most likely debut. As of yet no drivers have been named but there is a strong possibility that Marcus Gronholm, previous multiple world championship winner has links to the project. Mini is also said to be testing the car at the start of autumn.
The Prodrive team has been away from the WRC since the end of 2008 after Subaru’s withdrawal. Mini has said that the Banbury based firm has been playing with the Countryman WRC since 2009. David Richards chairman for Prodrive, is reportedly very excited at the new motorsport programme, and believes that the new Mini will become a favourite with the latest generation of rally fans.
Hit the link below to read more about Mini’s return to WRC and give us your thoughts. Are you an older WRC follower that remembers the Mini in its heyday or one of the new generation looking forward to seeing Mini’s hopeful rise to the top again?