Mini set to return to rallying

Mini is set to return to rallying, taking part in the 2011 and 2012 World Rally Championships, its owner German car maker BMW has announced.

Mini is planning a comeback in the world of rallying with the Countryman variant. The new car is being developed by a Banbury-based organisation, called Prodrive.

According to BMW, the brand is due to compete in selected rounds of the World Rally Championship in 2011, and participate in the full series in 2012. The German car firm added that it was planning a return to the WRC with Mini for "several years".

Prodrive, run by David Richards, gathered more prominence in recent years for masterminding Subaru's rally successes in the 1990s.

Commenting on the WRC programme, Mr Richards said: "This is a very exciting new motor sport programme.

"During the 1960s Mini captured the imagination of the world when the tiny car took on the might of V8 powered Fords and won what was then one of the toughest motor sport events, the 4000km Monte Carlo Rally.

"I believe our new Mini will become a firm favourite of the latest generation of rally fans, just as it is adored by its millions of owners across the world."

The Mini Cooper S became an iconic car in rallying in the 1960s, winning the prestigious Monte Carlo Rally on three occasions in 1964, 1965 and 1967, as well as the European Championship in '65.

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