MINI Cancels WRC Program

In a shocking turn of events for MINI, the spunky British automaker, has announced it will cancel its World Rally Championship program at the end of the 2012 season.

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MINI Misses Deadline for 2012 WRC Season

The Mini rally car, which is based on the Countryman model is prepared by Prodrive in Banbury, U.K. Now Prodrive, Mini and its parent company BMW are in talks with the FIA to seek an extension to the deadline.

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Subaru May Separate WRX From Impreza Range To Focus On Performance

Subaru may decide to have a separate WRX line different from the Impreza family in a move to create a more dedicated performance range for the automaker. The new Impreza goes on sale this fall and is expected to be a significantly higher volume model than any of its predecessors. Subaru may chose to separate the WRX and Impreza for the first time in nearly 20 years.

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Fiat Punto Abarth May Join World Rally Championship By 2014

After years of Citroen dominating the World Rally Championship, Fiat is getting ready to challenge the French automaker’s dominance with their own entry, based on the Punto Abarth.

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Ken Block Released From Hospital After Spectacular WRC Crash [Video]

Known for pulling wild stunts behind the wheel of his Ford Fiesta rally car, Ken Block had zero intention of rolling the high-powered machine five times. But that’s just what happened during a shakedown of the car ahead of the Rally of Portugal event this weekend.

Block, and co-pilot Alex Gelsomino were both admitted to hospital, after he lost control of the car in a ‘fourth-gear incident’ (read: going stupid fast). Both have since been released without injuries – although early reports indicated Block’s flatbill cap may never be the same.

The car, unfortunately, was damaged too severely for Block to compete in this weekend’s third-round of the World Rally Championship.

[Source: AutoSport]

See video of the crash after the jump:

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Volkswagen Planning WRC Entry With Polo

One obvious sign of economies returning to full steam is increased involvement by automakers in the incredibly expensive field of motorsports. A valuable R&D experience regardless of the outcome, the marketing aspect depends solely on if you win.

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MINI Countryman WRC Caught Testing in Portugal [video]

Last week we reported that MINI’s new Countryman WRC had completed its initial shakedown, and now we’ve got a trio of videos to prove it. The Prodrive-developed WRC car has been testing out in Portugal with Markko Märtin behind the wheel.

As we mentioned before, the aerodynamics seen on the MINI Countryman WRC currently won’t be the final components used as the final WRC bodywork is under construction. We’ll see limited competition out of MINI for 2011 as they’ll only be participating in select WRC rounds. But their plans is to be full on competition for 2012 and beyond.

As for our initial impressions of the MINI Countryman WRC in these videos, it looks to be a very formidable opponent and it sounds just awesome.

Check out all three videos after the break.

[Source: German Car Scene]

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MINI Countryman WRC: A First Look at MINI's Rally Car as Prodrive Completes Shakedown

More importantly, however, we’ve been provided with the first glimpse at the rally version of the MINI crossover, with a massive rear spoiler, big off-road tires and a significantly lowered suspension. MINI has confirmed, however, that the aerodynamics on the car are not the ones that will be used when it makes its WRC debut.

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Saab Mulling WRC Entry After Decades-Long Absence From Rally Series

Saab is reportedly considering a return to the World Rally Championship. News of this exciting development comes after executives at Saab’s new parent company (Dutch sports car maker Spyker) recently met with WRC bosses in private.

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MINI to Compete in 2011 WRC Series With Prodrive-Built Countryman

MINI has officially announced that it will enter the World Rally Championship (WRC) next year, teaming up with Prodrive and running a Countryman crossover. The MINI Countryman WRC is being developed by the legendary Prodrive race team (which helped Subaru win six championships) to run part of the 2011 season as it prepares for a full 2012 season of competition.

The modified Countryman model will meet new FIA Super2000 regulations, using a turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder BMW Motorsport engine, mated to MINI’s new All4 all-wheel drive system.

In the future, MINI will offer the Countryman WRC model to customer teams, so expand the number of MINIs competing in rally racing internationally.

Rumors suggest several well-known drivers may compete for the official MINI team, including Mads Ostberg and Marcus Gronholm.

Official release after the jump:

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Toyota Linked to Prodrive for 2011 World Rally Championship Team

Toyota appears set to return to the World Rally Championship (WRC) next year after an absence from the sport of over a decade. Last week we reported on Toyota’s fact-finding missions at several WRC races, and now the Japanese automaker has been linked to Prodrive – a motorsports company that helped Subaru rise to fame in the sport. Prodrive is also part owner of Aston Martin – which Toyota has a good working relationship with, donating the iQ Chassis for Aston’s Cygnet mini-car.

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How To Distract A Rally Driver, Braveheart Style

Rally driving requires serious concentration on both the part of the driver and co-driver. If the co-driver reads stage notes wrong, or a driver doesn’t react quickly, a crash and possible rollover is almost a given. Many seasoned rally drivers have trained themselves to ignore the spectators along the sides of the stage, but one man distracts Mark Tapper in his prepared Mitsubishi Lancer in a most interesting way, by showing him his ass. The distraction is enough for Tapper to overshoot the next corner during the Rally New Zealand race and end up on his roof. Amazing video after the jump.

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Subaru Returns to WRC With Announcement of WRX STI Spec C Homolgation

Several months ago Subaru announced a more hard-core WRX STI Spec C model exclusively for Japan and now the reason for that car has become clear. With just 900 units being offered, that is just enough to qualify for Group N (production car) homologation set by the FIA for such series as the World Rally Challenge.

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Report: Subaru Stunt Driver Ken Block Headed to WRC in a Ford

American stunt driver and Subaru USA Rally America driver Ken Block (left) is close to getting the call to the big leagues. AutoSport is reporting that Block is close to a deal with Ford that would seem him driving in the World Rally Championship (WRC), the world’s premiere rally car racing series.

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Subaru Building Legacy Race Car to Compete in Japan's Super GT Series

Is this the face of a race car? Subaru certainly thinks so.

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