April 5, 2011

First Rally win for MINI John Cooper Works

Mini winning an FIA rally for the first time since...well, since MINIs were mini sized? The Italian crew of Andrea Navarra and Simona Fedeli drove their Mini John Cooper Works Super 2000 to a win on the gravel of the 18th Rally Adriatico.

Full info from WRC.com after the jump:

Mini John Cooper Works
(Photo: Paolo Di Blasio)

The MINI John Cooper Works Super 2000, which made its World Rally Championship debut in Portugal last month, has claimed its first victory.

Driven by the Italian Andrea Navarra, the Prodrive-developed machine triumphed on Rally dell’Adriatico, the opening round of the Italian Gravel Rally Championship near Ancona on Italy’s Adriatic coast last weekend.

Running with a 30-milimetre restrictor (as opposed to a 33mm version) to conform to the FIA’s Regional Rally Car regulations to balance the performance with normally aspirated Super 2000 cars, Navarra led from start to finish. Co-driven by Simona Fedeli, he completed the 100-kilometre competitive route with a margin of 12.6 seconds over Andreas Mikkelsen’s conventional Skoda Fabia S2000.

“It’s a great honour for me to give MINI this first victory with Pirelli tyres and another milestone in our history together,” said Navarra. “It was a fantastic rally that was competitive from start to finish: we had to push hard but in the end we got the result that we wanted. I really enjoyed driving the car: the turbo engine means that you can drive with the throttle all the time compared to a conventional Super 2000 car, where you are driving with the gears.”

Although he’s not eligible for points, Navarra will return to the Italian Gravel series - known as the Trofeo Rally Terra - with the Grifone team on Rally Costa Smeralda on 6/7 May. The event runs behind the main world championship rally in Sardinia where MINI will mark the debut of the World Rally Car version of its John Cooper Works.

In addition to Navara’s machine, a handful of other Super 2000 MINIs are likely to be in action on the national-level Rally Costa Smeralda next month.

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