The 13 rallies making up the 2012 WRC season have now been consigned to history. Once again world champion Sébastien Loeb proved unstoppable. In Spain the Frenchman took a perfect ninth win of the season while he will only contest selected WRC events next season. Meanwhile, Dani Sordo of the Prodrive WRC Team was once again responsible for several highlights during the season closer. Driving the number 37 MINI John Cooper Works WRC, the Spaniard flew through the first three stages of the final rally day to win all these stages in succession in front of his home crowd.
After placing second on the Powerstage, Dani gave it his all in spectacular style on the last test to take his sixth win in Spain, completing an impressive run from 30th overall to ninth in just one-and-a-half days. He had once again extracted the maximum from the MINI WRC, as he had already done on the season-opening Rallye Monte Carlo, where he finished a sensational second overall. Although further targeted podium finishes evaded him, his promising performances on the second and third days of the Rallye Spain certainly ensured a rewarding end to the season for Dani and the MINI marque. “I gave it everything, and I’m looking forward to the future,” said Dani afterwards.
Three MINI WRC in the Top Ten
The overall fastest MINI WRC in Spain was that of Finland’s Jarkko Nikara, who celebrated his MINI debut with a highly promising fifth place for the Prodrive WRC Team. He was followed closely by Chris ‘Atko’ Atkinson in seventh in the number 12 MINI WRC entered by the WRC Team MINI Portugal, making it a triple in the Top Ten for MINI in Spain. Atko, too, celebrated a successful end to the season, having four times scored points in five starts, and registering the best finish for MINI on a gravel event this season with fifth place overall on the Rallye Italia. “It’s been a great season for me,” said Atko. “Driving the MINI has been enormous fun.” Abdulaziz Alkuwari of the Seashore Qatar Rally Team was the fourth MINI home in 14th place, with the finish of Paulo Nobre in the second WRC Team MINI Portugal entry completing the MINI quintet on the 2012 Rallye Spain.
The WRC now takes a short winter break before the 2013 season kicks off with the Rallye Monte Carlo on 15 January. However, MINI motorsport fans need not wait long for more action. The MINI Motorsport website, Facebook.com/MINImotorsport and Twitter.com/MINImotorsport will shortly be bringing extensive coverage about Stéphane Peterhansel title defense in the X-raid Team’s MINI ALL4 Racing at the 2013 Rallye Dakar. So from 5 to 20 January it will be again: DUST. DESERT. DAKAR. Be MINI.