The MINI WRC Team finished second overall in this year’s Rally France, falling just short of Citroen’s French-born star Sebastien Ogier by a mere 6.3 seconds.
The second place finish is MINI’s best finish this season, and marks the team’s second straight podium placement in only its fourth event of the 2011 season. MINI driver Dani Sordo led all competitors following the first day of competition and raced fearlessly throughout the competition, even after falling behind to Ogier. Contributing to Sordo’s success was the decision to switch his tires to soft Michelins on the final day to compensate for the track’s wet, slick conditions. The swap allowed Sordo to finish without any punctures or complications due to loss of traction.
Unfortunately the same cannot be said for partner Kris Meeke, who again failed to finish after a crash on the second day. Meeke had shown great promise, finishing the first day in fourth place, and sitting competitively at fifth when he fell off course.
The MINI WRC Team will head into its next competition – the Rally of Spain – with a lot of momentum. With two straight podium finishes and Spaniard Dani Sordo racing in front of a home crowd, the MINI WRC Team could be looking at the first win in team history.
David Richards, Team Principal:
“Yesterday we could have so easily have settled for a secure second place but that’s not our style and I’m so proud that Dani was able to challenge for victory right to the end. On this occasion we will therefore celebrate a second place and give the entire team a big pat on the back, particularly Dani Sordo. He managed to keep the pressure on Sébastien Ogier throughout the entire rally, and he’s certainly laid down a marker for his home event in Spain.”
Dave Wilcock, Technical Director:
“Second is an absolutely stunning result for the MINI John Cooper Works WRC. Being just 6.3secs behind Sébastien Ogier clearly shows we were on the pace and, after our fourth rally, being in this position has made us all delighted. It’s been a stunning effort from the team, and especially the crew. Dani drove a faultless rally. He had no punctures, the Michelin tires were absolutely perfect throughout and never once did we ever have any issues with tire degradation. This morning we made a tactical decision to take the soft tire option due to the damp and moist conditions, and knowing that the first stage, which was repeated, had two kilometers of gravel. It was completely the right choice. Then in the power stage to take two WRC drivers’ points and finish in front of Ogier was fantastic for MINI. This is a great position to be in going to Dani’s home event in Spain. We have a lot of work to do before then, but we shall be trying everything we can to repeat this performance there, if not make it a step higher on the podium!”
“As you can imagine I am really, really happy to finish in second position. It is an incredible result for the team so thank you to them and also to Carlos who has been great all rally. I think no-one here expected this before the rally, but we were fighting for the victory and at the end were just 6.3 seconds behind Sébastien Ogier. When you set good stage times as we have here in France, you always enjoy it. Before our first event we did not expect to be doing so well so soon. I am very pleased to be going to my home event in Spain in this position. The car was set-up well here, so I am confident it will be the same in Spain.”
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