Bucharest/Sibiu. MINI, a legendary brand in motorsport, was present this weekend at Sibiu Rally Challenge, a festival dedicated to motorsport which offers some of the most spectacular roads in Romania, including the famous Transfăgărăşan. The weekend included a round of the National Rally Championship, an Open competition and a Regularity Rally for vintage cars. There was a total of 80 crews enrolled in all three competitions.
At the end of the weekend, victory was once again gained by the crew Simone Tempestini (ITA) – Dorin Pulpea (RO), who won the sixth round of the National Rally Championship, by winning seven out of a total of eight special stages scheduled.
MINI, through the official dealer Automobile Bavaria, was the official car of the event. A fleet of 9 MINI Countryman All4 models were available for the organisers as assistance vehicles. The first all-wheel-drive model in the history of the brand represents the fundaments for the brands’ success in the last four editions of the Dakar Rally.
Meanwhile, the new MINI John Cooper Works participated in the Regularity Rally with a demo crew of journalists, thus experiencing its official „baptism” on Transfăgărăşan.
MINI John Cooper Works is the most powerful and fastest production model of the brand. Completely new, the 2.0 litre, four-cylinder engine with MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology offers a maximum power output of 170 kW / 231 hp, which makes it the most powerful propeller that was ever available in a MINI series-production vehicle.
Developed using the experience gained from motorsport, where MINI Challenge competitions have played an important role, it has technological details for the suspension, bodywork and cockpit which are perfectly harmonised with a high level of performance. The general package for extreme performance includes sports suspensions with Brembo sport braking system, exclusive John Cooper Works alloy wheels, John Cooper Works aerodynamic kit, very large air intakes and a specific interior with a sports car ambience. The new MINI John Cooper Works sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in just 6.3 seconds. With the steptronic six-speed transmission, available as an alternative to the manual six-speed transmission, a 6.1 seconds sprint is achieved. Moreover, in combination with the automatic transmission, fuel consumption of the new MINI John Cooper Works, according to the EU test cycle, is reduced to 5.7 l / 100 km (CO2 emissions: 133 g / km).
MINI in motorsport
In the 60s, the British brand and John Cooper made history – Mini Cooper and afterwards Mini Cooper S dominated the rally scene. Mini stands out from the beginning with style: a woman won the first title in an international rally: Pat Moss in 1962 at the Tulip Rally. Other famous victories include the 1965 RAC Rally, the Rally of the 1000 Lakes in 1965, 1966 and 1967, Acropolis Rally in 1967, Alpine Cup in 1963 and 1967 and the Austrian Alpine in 1966. The most famous performances remain the three titles of Monte Carlo, obtained in 1964, 1965 and 1967 by Paddy Hopkirk, Timo Mäkinen and finally, Rauno Aaltonen.
In the 60s, the car has also demonstrated its potential outside rallies. In April 1968, Niki Lauda attended his first hillclimb driving a Mini, which brought him the second place. After just two weeks, he would gain his first victory, announcing a promising career for the future world champion. Just like Niki Lauda, Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart, John Surtees, Jochen Rindt and James Hunt are just a few of the Formula 1 world champions who have experienced their first competitive experience at the wheel of the classic Mini.
Now, the presence of MINI in motorsport is centred on rally raids. MINI won the last four editions of the legendary Dakar Rally, last time in January 2015 after over 9,000 kilometers driven in the toughest endurance rally in the world. Behind this performance there is a new special chapter in the history of the brand: the first model with all-wheel drive and four doors – MINI Countryman.