Months of speculation has finally come to an end as Mini confirmed the existence of a special rally version Mini Countryman being built. A statement by Mini in Munich has confirmed that the team is hoping to compete in the WRC with a Mini Countryman built by the Prodrive motorsport firm.
As next year’s engine rules change for WRC, Mini will be able to compete with its 1.6-litre turbo mill. Mini is hoping to get its first test underway as soon as possible with the hope of running selected WRC events in 2011 before a full assault on the 2012 season.
Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Sales and Marketing, said: “I am delighted Mini will be represented on one of the most popular stages in international motorsport. The success enjoyed on the rally circuit has made a vital contribution to the image of the brand. Mini customers have always shown great interest in motorsport.
The Countryman WRC has apparently been under wraps since the beginning of 2009 when the first thoughts of entering the WRC got under way. Mini has not yet advised as to which events they will be participating in next year although heavy speculation suggests it could be as soon as Rally Sardinia in May of next year.
Prodrive is to partner Mini in the manufacturing of the vehicles and will no doubt share its wealth of experience having won six World Rally Championships with Subaru. As for the drivers of the Countryman, none have been named but the likes of Marcus Gronholm and P-G Andersson have been touted as possibilities.