Dani Sordo and his co-driver Carlos del Barrio in their Mini John Cooper Works WRC finished second overall in Rally France. It was the team’s second straight podium finish; they had come in third in Rally Germany in August.
Sordo was leading at the end of day one of the three-day rally, run in the Alsace region of France. They battled for the lead with Citroen’s Sébastien Ogier and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia. Ogier moved into first with a 9.5-second margin at the end of on day two, but the Mini team’s decision to run on soft-compound tires enabled Sordo to close the gap to 4.9 seconds on the final day, only to have Ogier set faster times in the last two stages to hold on for the win.
The team’s second car, run by Kris Meeke and his co-driver Paul Nagle, crashed on Saturday and was unable to return to competition on Sunday. (Text continues after photo)
The team’s two podium finishes have come in a test season in which it is running a limited schedule in preparation for an assault on the WRC title in 2012.
Dave Wilcock, the team’s technical director, said, “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!”
The team will run in Rally Spain on October 20-23, and will close the season at Rally Great Britain in Wales on November 10-13.—Brian S. Morgan, motorsports editor, bmwcca.orgBack to News