MINI Pulls Out of World Rally Championship (WRC)

MINI John Cooper Works                         (Source: http://www.minimotorsport.com)

News yesterday that MINI has pulled out of the World Rally Championship (WRC). Dr. Kay Segler, Senior Vice President MINI Business Coordination and Brand Management indicated:

“MINI will abandon its works involvement in the WRC at the end of the 2012 season. By the end of the season WRC Team MINI Portugal will have competed in every rally in 2012. As such, in accordance with FIA regulations, we will have achieved the WRC homologation for the MINI John Cooper Works. In doing so, we would have achieved the prerequisites to allow those interested to continue to run the car in the WRC on a customer rallying basis.”

While MINI is pulling out, that latter part of the statement indicates privateer racers, those that are not backed by an automaker, will be able to race in the MINI John Cooper Works.  However, notable rally driver Ken Block has previously stated the World Rally Championship format hurts privateer drivers.

The absence of MINI in the 2013 season may not be a complete surprise. During the 2012 season the team garnered only 26 manufacturer points against 388 from the overall winner Citroen Total World Rally Team. With the absence of MINI, the 2013 WRC season will be left with four main manufacturer teams, Ford, Citroën, Hyundai and Volkswagen.

MINI WRC Team

MINI John Cooper Works

Sebastien Loeb wins World Rally Championship (WRC)

Yesterday, Sebastien Loeb won his home Rally of France clinching the World Rally Championship for a record ninth consecutive time.  With two events still remaining, Sebastien’s lead in points was so large he won the title mathematically before the season is finished.

Sebastien Loeb wins big

The 38 year Frenchman’s first title came in 2004 and he has been crowned drivers’ champion every season since then. With over 75 victories since 2002, his domination is truly unmatched in the sport and he is one of the greatest rally drivers in history.

Sebastien drives the Citroen DS3 WRC which is based upon the Citroën DS3 road car. The DS3 WRC though is powered by a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine rather than the normally aspirated 2-liter engine found in most Super 2000 cars.

To see him in action check out this video – He truly is a magical driver.

Unfortunately for fans, Sebastien will not be defending his 9th championship next year in WRC as it has been announced he will be switching to the World Touring Car Championship. It will be interesting to see if he can make the transition and bring his unparalleled success to the new series in the future.