"The last four days were extremely strenuous, but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience," was Eliseo Salazar’s summary after his debut in the World Rally Championship. At age 57, with many successful decades in motorsport to his c.v., the Chilean intended establishing a new record. Contesting the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix, the Le Mans 24 Hour, the Dakar Rally, the Indianapolis 500, and a round of the FIA World Rally Championship: Prior to Eliseo no driver had ever achieved the feat. Thus a place in the annals of motorsport is his due.
For 17 stages Eliseo concentrated upon making absolutely no mistakes on the Rally Argentina in order to bring his MINI John Cooper Works WRC home. A controlled drive achieved exactly that, even if no best times were recorded – something the veteran could live with. Until the 17th
stage Eliseo drove in the shadow of MINI team-mate Armindo Araujo of the WRC Team MINI Portugal, who had worked his way up to ninth overall. However, in an instant everything changed.
Within minutes Armindo and his team-mate Paulo Nobre withdrew with a broken steering rod, elevating Eliseo to best-placed MINI driver on the Rally Argentina, with 12th
place overall being the result. Just 3:56.5 minutes separated him from Kris Meeke’s pre-rally prediction that Eliseo could score points on his WRC debut thanks in no small part to his wealth of motorsport experience and the reliability of the MINI WRC. Kris reached the conclusion after observing Eliseo make his preparations for Argentina during a group test session held after the Rally Portugal.
Eliseo received many pats on the back and congratulations from his newly-won WRC colleagues, of whom Sébastien Loeb attracted the most attention in Argentina. The world champion waged a hard head-to-head battle against team-mate Mikko Hirvonen for the overall lead of the rally. Just when it appeared Hirvonen would pass Loeb, Loeb moved up a gear to record the seventh Rally Argentina victory of his career. Third place went to Mads Ostberg, who benefitted from Ford World rally Team guest driver Dani Sordo’s retirement on the last stage.
Now the WRC takes a break until 25 May, when the Acropolis Rally, the sixth round of the 2012 championship, starts. However, MINI fans will not suffer withdrawal symptoms as many will gather for the Mini United 2012 festival in Le Castellet, France from 11-13 May. Held under the banner "Friends. Festival. Racing", the festival features numerous live bands, MINI Trophy races and the MINI RUSHOUR. Thousands of MINI maniacs from across the globe are expected to gather to experience MINI Lifestyle at its very best. Further information about MINI United 2012 and tickets are available at: http://bit.ly/MINIunited2012
Luis Monzón won the Spanish Tarmac Rally Championship to present the MINI WRC with its first title without even lining up at the Rallye Villa de Llanes last weekend. But five wins in six rounds were sufficient to win the title.
The MINI Motorsport family is large and embraces the whole world. Find out more about the MINI Stars worldwide.
Michal Kościuszko and Jarkko Nikara are flying the flag for MINI at the icy 2013 Rally Sweden, while a rally great was on hand to offer advice to Michal during his preparations.
Ultimate cornering, breathtaking acceleration.
Michal Kościuszko enjoyed a great debut in the MINI WRC for the Lotos Rally Team at the Rally Monte Carlo. In this Q&A Michal speaks about the Monte, the MINI and his goals for the 2013 season.
A car built for victory. The MINI John Cooper Works Challenge races across the track at 240 km/h.
Experience MINI John Cooper Works.