Monsoon-like rain, water puddles on the course, slippery marsh conditions in the corners: The conditions on the third and final day of the Rallye de France could hardly have been more challenging. Even the newly-crowned 2012 World Rally champion Sébastien Loeb, who scored the ninth world title of his illustrious career in France, fought with difficult conditions, on the first stage of the day even sliding off course, and landing in a field.
Chris "Atko" Atkinson of the WRC Team MINI Portugal avoided such rallycross antics to bring his MINI John Cooper Works WRC bearing car number 12 safely home. "Tough conditions on the stages. We are cruising – no problem," said Atko after the 19th of a total of 22 stages, the Australian having moved into eighth place overall after Dani Sordo, driving a MINI WRC for the Prodrive WRC Team, retired for safety reasons with a power steering issue.
After Dani had fought a hard three-way fight with Thierry Neuville and Mads Ostberg over fourth place, it was Atko’s turn to assume the role of lead driver as he benefitted by moving into eighth place. "I am more experienced on gravel. So while driving on tarmac here in France, I am happy with the result. In spite of the changing conditions during the last days, the MINI has been very good. I had a constant pace and learned a lot from the event," said Atko. "Now I am looking forward to Sardinia, where we will compete on loose surfaces."
Yvan Muller and Romain Dumas will soon again be competing with hard surfaces under their wheels. The two circuit racing experts enjoyed their respective excursions into the world of rallying. Yvan, the reigning World Touring Car champion, ended the Rally de France in 14th place overall after consistently improving in the second Prodrive MINI WRC – as evidenced by his performances on the 18th and 19th
special stage, where he set the fourth- and fifth-fastest times respectively. Romain, in the number 69 MINI WRC, ended two places adrift of Yvan in 16th
The team at MINI Motorsport heartily congratulates Sébastien Loeb on his ninth world title, and thanks all MINI WRC crews for an exciting Rallye de France. Now it off for the Rally Italia in Sardinia (18-21 October). Go MINI.
1. Loeb, 2. Latvala, 3. Hirvonen, 4. Neuville, 5. Ostberg. More.
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.
The MINI Motorsport family is large and embraces the whole world. Find out more about the MINI Stars worldwide.
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.
Ultimate cornering, breathtaking acceleration.
MINI is once again represented in the FIA WRC in 2013. Michal Kościuszko is making his debut in the MINI John Cooper Works WRC for the Lotos WRC Team at the legendary Rally Monte Carlo.
A car built for victory. The MINI John Cooper Works Challenge races across the track at 240 km/h.
Experience MINI John Cooper Works.