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 |  Jan 30 2012, 8:30 PM

MINI was proud to announce today that a John Cooper Works Super Production Car (SPC) captured its first FIA International event win this past weekend. Driver Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari took the checkered flag home at the Qatar International Rally, the first found in the 2012 Middle East Rally Championship (MERC).

Al Kuwari had his brother, Nassar Al-Kuwari as his co-driver, and the pair captured the race victory by a margin of 2m 24.9s and was the team’s first career MERC win. It was also a successful debut of the Prodrive-built, Tok Sport-ran MINI John Cooper Works SPC. The MINI SPC is the regional rally specification of the MINI World Rally Car. It is nearly identical to the WRC except the SPC runs with a smaller engine restrictor (30-mm versus 33-mm) and a smaller rear wing.

“It is a fantastic feeling to win this rally,” said Al-Kuwari, who became the 32nd driver in history to win at least one round of the MERC.  “I have achieved success in national rallies in Qatar, but this was the big one. This was the rally I wanted to win. It was a great battle with Nasser. The new car was fantastic. This is the biggest win of my career.”

The team is now looking forward to becoming a force to be reckoned with in the 2012 Middle East Rally Championship.