Monte Carlo Rally and Mini to be Reunited

What a mouth watering prospect for Rally enthusiasts, the Monte Carlo Rally returns to its rightful position as season opener for the 2012 World Rally Championship calender and the John Cooper Works Mini Clubman WRC car has come through its first round of serious tarmac testing with flying colours, could this just be a happy coincidence?
After an intensive 4-day testing session on tarmac, works drivers Kris Meeke and Dani Sordo were delighted with the progress that was made during the team's first serious sealed-surface tests, held on traditional 'Monte' roads near Sanremo in Italy. In fact Sordo, an acknowledged master on tarmac, thought that the WRC Mini Clubman's suspension was now especially good, with the engine needing some improvement to its torque curve to help it pick up from slow corners.
A further tarmac testing session is planned in Germany before the car's next appearance on the team's selected 2011 WRC calender, the gravel based Finnish Rally at the end of July, before the next tarmac rally in this year's championship, Rally Germany in mid August, where the Mini Clubman derivative could spring a few surprises among the established runners & riders.
So, status quote is almost restored - the Monte's back, now it just needs the familiar red and white cars on the WRC podium for complete deja vu.
Now where's that 2012 schedule of flights to Nice, I've a feeling that I'm needing a late winter break in the Sospel area of the southern French Alps ...

10th June, 2011