Mini has taken the covers off the definitive version of the car that will spearhead its return to top-flight rallying.
The BMW-owned brand unveiled its Countryman WRC - officially called the Mini John Cooper Works WRC - at its Oxford factory this morning. It has previously shown the more restricted S2000 version of the car, but used its UK base - not the site of the Austrian-built Countryman’s production line, ironically - to launch a six-event 2011 programme with the full-spec car, complete with new rear wing.
“This project is a truly passionate opportunity,” said David Richards, boss of the Prodrive motorsport prepration firm that is responsible for Mini’s rallying activities. “Mini is a cult brand which left a lasting impression during its previous motorsport campaigns.”
The team’s drivers - ex-Citroën star Dani Sordo and Northern Irishman Kris Meeke - will contest events in Italy, Finland, Germany, France, Spain and Great Britain this season, ahead of a full campaign in 2012. They’re considered an attractive pairing - although neither has won a WRC round.