Olbia, 7th May, 2011. The MINI WRC Team continued with its mixed fortunes, but can only be happy about the learning process from its first FIA World Championship Rally. Dani Sordo (ES) and Carlos del Barrio (ES) held onto their sixth place in car number 37, while Kris Meeke (GB) and Paul Nagle (IR) had to sit out most of the day due to a water leak. However, the number 52 MINI John Cooper Works WRC will be back in action tomorrow for the final day.
Both Sordo and del Barrio were wearing black armbands this afternoon as a mark of respect to their fellow Spaniard, the legendary golfer Seve Ballesteros, who died yesterday. All three come from Santander in Spain.
The performance of the MINI is good and we are really close to the car in front.
David Richards, Team Principal:
“Everyone is asking the same question, which is how we feel about this first event for MINI. The natural thing is to focus on the performance or the reliability, but the thing I take away from this most of all is the extraordinary support we are getting from the fans. When people cheer for MINI when the cars go through the stages you realise what a passion there is for this car, and what an interest there is for what we have brought to the championship.”
Dave Wilcock, Technical Director:
“For both drivers this morning we had a strategy just to see how we got on. The cars were in excellent conditions, so the initial plan was just to go out there and see what we could do and show they were competitive. The disappointing thing for Kris was in the first stage this morning we had a similar complaint to the response of his throttle. Not to the same extent but to the point where it was upsetting his driving, which he could control. But then on the second stage he developed a water leak, which put him out of the rally today. This was very disappointing for Kris.
“For Dani just another strong performance from him today. He is extremely happy with the balance, the stability and the general feeling of the car, especially in the high speed sections where he is very excited and really enjoying them. He reported an issue with his throttle that had symptoms similar to those Kris experienced. Looking at the data it is a completely unrelated issue and we have replaced all the parts on Dani’s car. We have had a full service, everything is in tip top condition so for him it will be business as normal tomorrow. Kris is now doing the super rally again, which he was doing anyway, and now we will just try to get some mileage under his belt so we can get some experience for him. Hopefully we shall get both cars to the end.”
“The day was not so bad. I am happy with the car and happier than yesterday as I have more confidence in the car. We have learnt a lot because this is our first rally for the car, we have done a lot of kilometres and also have a lot of information, which is what we came here to do. The performance of the MINI is good and we are really close to the car in front. Tomorrow I just try to finish the rally because there are some fairly difficult stages and the power stage left. ”
“We developed a water leak on the way to stage ten. We tried to fix it but then in the stage it happened again, the engine temperature went up and we had to stop before we damaged the engine. We wanted to fix it to get going again tomorrow. It is a little bit unfortunate that I have not got into my stride yet, but that is part of the game. When you get to a rally you don’t have a second chance, you have to make it work for all three days and it just hasn’t.”
-source: mini wrc