Back to Back wins for MINI at Targa Newfoundland

MINI Canada’s John Cooper Works (JCW) MINI Cooper S successfully defended its Open Division title at Targa Newfoundland from September 9-16, 2006, once again taking its place at the top of the podium. Driven by automotive journalist Jim Kenzie with rally veteran Brian Bourbonniere as navigator, the JCW MINI Cooper S dispatched a field of heavily modified high-horsepower competitors in the fastest division at Targa Newfoundland. In addition, Kenzie and Boubonniere were one of three teams to take home gold plates, having completed all Targa stages within their trophy time for the third consecutive year.

“(The JCW MINI Cooper S) is as reliable as a brick through a plate glass window,” claims driver Jim Kenzie. “It is simply the most amazing little beast.”

The Open Division boasts the toughest rally base times and imposes no restriction on modifications to vehicles. The 208 horsepower JCW MINI Cooper S was the only stock car in the heavily modified field. Legendary handling, potent performance, remarkable reliability, and a talented in-car duo all played a part in the victory. This was the third straight Targa Newfoundland rally for the 2004 Chili Red JCW MINI Cooper S, which has accumulated over 6,500kms of grueling tarmac without any technical difficulties, a testament to the quality and reliability of the MINI.

“MINI Canada is thrilled to bring home the Targa Newfoundland Open Division title for the second straight year,” said Stephen McDonnell, Director, MINI Canada. “This victory speaks volumes to the sporting and handling capabilities of the MINI and reinforces the brand’s impressive rally heritage. The hospitality and scenery of Newfoundland make it the perfect location for such an arduous event.”

MINI Canada also took home the Churchill Motorsports Award as part of the national three car team that accumulates the lowest aggregate of penalty points throughout all portions of the rally, marking the first time a Canadian team has claimed the award. Rounding out the team were the 1979 Porsche 911 of Glen Clarke and Evan Gamblin and the 1981 Porsche 911 of Scott Giannou and Ray Felice.

The new MINI, introduced to the North American automotive market in March of 2002, continues the brand’s rich heritage of racing. MINI’s supremacy at Targa Newfoundland in both 2006 and 2005 adds another chapter to the brand’s celebrated rally heritage. In the mid 60s the Classic Mini dominated the rally scene capturing championship titles in the 1964, 1965, and 1967 Monte Carlo Rally.

Targa Newfoundland is the first and only event of its kind to be held in North America. It is an annual event and forms a 2200 km long, high quality automotive adventure. It is held over a seven-day period in September of each year on the paved roads of the eastern and central parts of the island of Newfoundland. The vehicles and crews compete on public roads in transit sections which follow all of the rules of the road and Targa, or speed sections which are held on roads closed to the general public. Each vehicle competes against itself on a handicap basis as well as against other vehicles.

To catch all the action, including daily updates, photos, driver bios, in-car video footage, and much more, visit the www.MINI.ca website.