Currently reading: Mini returns to the WRC
Firm will return to top-line rallying next year with its all-wheel drive Countryman

Mini has confirmed that it is returning to world championship rallying next year, with a Countryman WRC developed and run by Prodrive.

The deal, which has been rumoured for several months, includes a limited programme in 2011 with the Countryman WRC - designed to the World Rally Championship's new turbocharged 1600cc, four-wheel-drive regulations. A full campaign will then follow in 2012.

See the official sketch of the Mini Countryman WRC carJohn McIlroy blog: Mini goes rallying

Mini says "the involvement is planned for several years”; the firm is said to be keen to exploit its brand’s history in rallying, including its famous victories on the Monte Carlo Rally.

Testing of the car will begin in the autumn, but Mini has yet to specify a date for a competitive debut. Rallying insiders say that next's year's Rally Sardinia is the most likely event, however.

The firm has not confirmed any drivers either, although multiple world champion Marcus Gronholm has been linked with the campaign. Britain's Intercontinental Rally Challenge title-holder Kris Meeke is also said to have had discussions about a drive.

Read Autocar's first drive of the Mini Countryman Cooper S ALL4

Ian Robertson, BMW Group's sales and marketing boss, said,"I am delighted Mini will be represented on one of the most popular stages in international motorsport."

The deal is a coup for Prodrive, which has been absent from the World Rally Championship since Subaru's withdrawal at the end of the 2008 season. Mini has revealed that the firm has been working on the Countryman WRC since early 2009.

The firm's chairman David Richards said, "This is a very exciting new motorsport programme. I believe our new Mini will become a firm favourite of the latest generation of rally fans."

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cmcc90 7 January 2011

Re: Mini returns to the WRC

Sordo confirmed at Mini. Feels good to have been right for once :)

david RS 28 July 2010

Re: Mini returns to the WRC

John : I knew this fantastic video of the not less fantastic Patrick Snijers.

I saw him driving several times at "Les 24 heures d'Ypres" during the great era (not the IRC).

The nostalgy is great in rally when you have known the groups B and A. The music of the engines, the slidings...

I never laugh with François Duval ;-)

CitroenMan 27 July 2010

Re: Mini returns to the WRC

Yes they do no something you don't, the viewing figures on live website in Europe have grown 4 fold TV coverage has grown 6 fold, only in England ( I live in Spain ) is TV coverage poor, that is about to change, and BMW have also noticed Citroen sales figures over the last 6 years since there rally success, ( DS3 has sold it's years production in 4 months.