Disappointment for Mini WRC Team in Finland

The MINI WRC Team were disappointed that neither of its MINI John Cooper Works WRCs made it to the end of Neste Oil Rally Finland however the event provided a fund of valuable information for the Prodrive run Mini WRC team .

The first retirement was of car number 52 for Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle after 19 of the 22 stages, while Dani Sordo and Carlos del Barrio only missed out on the very last stage. Both retirements were precautionary after a lot of sand and dirt was sucked into the car's cooling system, which could have caused damage to the engines.

The problems started on stage 17, Leustu 2, when Meeke suffered from a puncture and then overheating. At that stage he had been lying ninth, but the loss of over a minute and a half to the leaders dropped him to 14th. It was soon obvious how rough the stages were proving on the second run through, and on the next stage, Surkee 2, Sordo, then seventh, also had problems with the sand blocking the air intake and lost 45 seconds to the leaders.

The team's engineers knew they would gather no further useful data from their cars limping through stages, although Sordo was able to go quicker than Meeke. After Urria 2 the team decided to retire Meeke's car, and then after Isoj 2 Sordo was told to drive back to the finish and not attempt the Power Stage to avoid engine damage.

David Richards, Prodrive's Team Principal commented, "There is obviously a great sense of disappointment throughout the team that the rally should end for both Dani and Kris within sight of the finish. However, we have to take heart from the performance of the cars throughout the event, with their pure speed and the fact we were close to the pace right from the word go. We now go to a very different surface, with the asphalt rally of Germany which will present further challenges and another step in the learning curve for our new team".

31st July, 2011