MINI WRC Team heads to Finland

The MINI WRC Team is aiming to get both its cars to the end of the Neste Oil Rally Finland to provide its drivers with valuable competitive mileage in their MINI John Cooper Works WRCs. The team has been very busy with an intensive test programme since its World Rally Championship debut two months ago, and it now heads north for the next event on its 2011 agenda on the 28th-30th July. Dani Sordo (ES) and Carlos del Barrio (ES) will again be driving the number 37 MINI, while Kris Meeke (GB) and Paul Nagle (IR) will be in the number 52 car.

"Finland is a specialist event, which always suits the style of the local Scandinavian drivers", explained David Richards, Team Principal. "This early in our programme our primary aim is to put more competitive miles on the cars and to get both drivers through to the finish in strong positions".

This will be the second WRC event on the team's six-rally schedule and since its first one in Sardinia it has covered approximately 3,000 kilometers in testing on both tarmac and gravel. In the intervening months the MINIs have been in the UK at Cornbury Park and the Goodwood Festival of Speed, testing in Northern Italy, Germany and Finland, as well as taking part in the recce for the Greek WRC round.

The Finnish round of the WRC is one of the most famous events on the calendar. While this will be the first time there for the new MINI, in the 1960s the Mini enjoyed numerous successes in Finland. One of the drivers to appear on the podium in those days was Rauno Aaltonen (FI), so it is very fitting he will be at this year's event supporting the team.

One of his duties on the Saturday will be to present a MINI Countryman to two of his fellow Finns, Arttu Pihlainen, the world's fastest downhill skater, and Peetu Piiroinen, a successful snowboarder. They won these cars, which are being given by BMW Suomi Oy, in races last winter.

22nd July, 2011