The main stage is just a stone's throw from the start and finishing straight of the Circuit Paul Ricard, and this is where Beth Ditto and her band 'Gossip' put on a spectacular performance in front of tens of thousands of MINI United fans on Saturday evening. But come Sunday morning, the fans had once again turned their attention to motorsport, as the second races in the MINI RUSHOUR and MINI Trophy series were held. These two new club racing series opened the proceedings of MINI UNITED 2012 on Friday with their training sessions, so it was fitting that they also provided the sporting finale for the festival.
First up on the 3.85 kilometre stretch of the former Formula 1 racetrack was the MINI RUSHOUR series. On Saturday, the first race was won by Andréa Gagliardini, just ahead of guest entrant Kris Meeke. And on Sunday, it was the turn of Andréa Nember to clinch the overall victory in the second race. The MINI RUSHOUR series therefore enjoyed a perfect debut. The series, which was initiated just this year, will henceforth be hosted in Italy. The series' first season is scheduled to run until 16 September and gives the fans five more opportunities to witness some thrilling racing. The next event will take place at the Autodromo del Mugello on 10 June, where there will once again be exciting racing action and lots of MINI event lifestyle.
As the dying notes of the Italian national anthem dissipated following Andréa Nember's victory in the second MINI RUSHOUR race, the drivers in the German equivalent to MINI RUSHOUR, the MINI Trophy series, lined up in their starting positions on the Circuit Paul Ricard. The first series race on Saturday was won by Thomas Tekaat, who lined up on Sunday in sixth place on the grid. Here, too, the 24 entrants delivered a highly impressive race in the second round of the MINI Trophy season. Ralf Martin in his #37 MINI delivered a pure start-to-finish victory. Patrick Goncalves, winner of the MINI Challenge Brazil and MINI Challenge Argentina 2011, started as a guest entrant and finished 21st, while the MINI Spain guest drivers Marta Suria and Luis Reyes were 11th
and 13th, respectively. The fans have already made a note of the third round of the MINI Trophy series, which will take place on the Sachsenring in Germany on 9 June.
There was then more action to come on the Circuit Paul Ricard after the MINI RUSHOUR and MINI Trophy races, as it once again time for "Race your MINI". This was a dream come true for a lot of MINI fans, as they finally got the opportunity to try out a few laps on the legendary racetrack in their own MINI vehicles. The festival then continued with test drives, stunt shows, kart racing and all sorts of other events dotted around the racetrack. The world's biggest MINI community party will then gradually draw to a close late on Sunday afternoon.
And as the tens of thousands of MINI cars of all different colours make their way from Le Castellet back to wherever they travelled from, it is up to MINI Motorsport to say: Thank you, MINI fans, for a sensational MINI United 2012. Find more news, photos and videos from MINI United 2012 here: Facebook.com/MINImotorsport
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