Joyous faces in the Prodrive WRC Team. While the opposition was recently tearing through the Finnish forests, Dani Sordo’s team took full advantage of the sunny days in the vineyards around the city of Trier, on the River Mosel, to prepare intensely for the Rally Germany. Dani and Co. have set their sights high for the ninth round of the 2012 WRC season: with a completely reassembled MINI John Cooper Works WRC, specially tailored for its outing on the German asphalt, Dani is determined to return to the podium.
Germany has been a happy stomping ground for Dani, who will be driving on solid ground for the first time since the WRC season-opener at the Rally Monte Carlo. And Dani showed his class on asphalt last year. He powered to third place in his MINI WRC at the 2011 Rally Germany. In doing so, Dani claimed the first podium finish for MINI in the World Rally Championship since the brand’s successes back in the 1960s. The Spaniard is now aiming for a return to the podium this year – preferably one or two steps higher than last year.
Following the tests in the Mosel vineyards, Dani reported: “The MINI feels very good.” Team Principal Dave Wilcock added: “When Dani is driving like that, he is a match for anyone on tarmac." Prodrive further optimised the engine performance, aerodynamics and weight distribution of the MINI WRC type 01B ahead of the forthcoming asphalt rallies. In doing so, they called upon the technical experience that the team gained with the S2000 version of the MINI in Corsica back in May, when Dani won the event in style.
Now the asphalt version of the MINI WRC 01B lines up for the first time, and everyone is confident that the results will be worth all the effort. “With the enhancements on the car, we should be faster in Germany than last year,” said Wilcock. "If all goes well, let’s see if we can take one or two more steps up the podium.” This confidence is shared by rally fans around the world. According to a WRC survey, more than 75 per cent of fans believe Dani will claim a podium finish in Germany. That would Dani’s fourth podium in a MINI WRC.
Another outing awaited with much anticipation is that of Chris Atkinson, who will be making his debut in the MINI WRC for WRC Team MINI Portugal at the Rally Germany. "Chris is taking over as the team's number one driver,” said team boss Bruno di Pianto. "At his side is the experienced Belgian Stephane Prevot for the rest of the season. They are a killer combination." Chris' CV is promising indeed: 67 WRC starts, six podium finishes have piled up there while he scored points in the WRC drivers' championship 32 times. Many still remember his WRC debut in 2004 when Chris finished the Rally Australia with an impressive fifth place.
Chris is without a doubt a superb driver at the wheel of the MINI WRC and fans can look forward to his start in Germany. Paulo Nobre will also be on the WRC Team MINI Portugal again. The MINI trio are faced with 368.63 kilometres and a lot of hard work before they reach the finish of the Rally Germany.The organisers may have reduced the number of special stages from 19 to 15 this year, but the average length of the stages has increased to 24.5 kilometres. While the first day takes the drivers along narrow, winding roads in the vineyards above the Mosel, Saturday’s “Arena Panzerplatte” stage is the ultimate test for all involved, and ten thousands of fans are expected to watch the show again. Not only must the 46.54-kilometre special stage – the longest on the rally – be completed twice, but the route through a military training ground is littered with massive boulders, that could easily spell the end of the rally for anyone who makes a mistake.
Fans are certainly in for a real treat at the Rally Germany. A total of 62 spectator spots have been set up, 27 of which are new this year. In addition, the grand finale will once again see the Power Stage take place in Trier city centre. Here the drivers will compete for bonus points close to the world-famous Porta Nigra – a spectacle that is again expected to attract huge crowds.
The Rally Germany starts on Friday morning with the “Mittelmosel 1” stage, which gets underway at 10:48 local time (CET). As always, you can find the latest information on the Rally Germany at Facebook.com/MINImotorsport and Twitter.com/MINImotorsport.
After a difficult start to the second day of the Rally Spain, Dani Sordo delivers a spectacular show for his fans with the MINI WRC.
The MINI Motorsport family is large and embraces the whole world. Find out more about the MINI Stars worldwide.
On the first day in Spain all teams fought off difficult weather conditions and challenging stages. While virtually every stage was marked by retirements, one MINI WRC driver kept his nerve.
Ultimate cornering, breathtaking acceleration.
Qualifying stage, autograph session, media conference, starting order draw and ceremonial start: The preliminaries for the Rallye Spain are over; all five MINI WRC Crews are raring to start the WRC finale.
A car built for victory. The MINI John Cooper Works Challenge races across the track at 240 km/h.
Experience MINI John Cooper Works.