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French stuntman Guerlain Chicherit hit the ski slopes of Tignes, France over the weekend – not to enjoy the fresh snow but to perform the first-ever unassisted backlip in a car, which was teased last month.

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Not too long ago, the idea of doing a backflip seemed almost impossible on two wheels let alone four, but now the stunt is routinely performed using everything from dirtbikes to monster trucks. Now Mini is getting into the game by attempting to perform a backflip with French stuntman Guerlain Chicherit behind the wheel of a highly modified Countryman, which it claims is the first-ever attempt at doing so with a car.

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No, this isn't an April Fool's joke or some sort of wacky car commercial. It's the SPCA Auckland (located in New Zealand) coming up with an innovative way of proving that it's possible to teach a rescue animal new tricks. Monty, Porter and Ginny are all dogs rescued by the SPCA Auckland, and each was taught the ability to drive a Mini Countryman around a track.

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When Mini first put the 211-horsepower, JCW-equipped Countryman on video, we were told to "expect the unexpected" while watching the taller, all-wheel-drive MINI make donuts and roostertails in snow and sand with a man on the roof.

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The Mini Countryman equipped with the John Cooper Works package is the latest diminutive to be loaded into the brand's eccentric ad machine. As if a 211-horsepower, all-wheel-drive crossover on 18-inch alloys from a brand called "Mini" weren't novel enough, we're admonished to "Expect the unexpected" as the most powerful vehicle it makes is flicked through the desert and the snow.

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We've being living with our long-term Mini Countryman Cooper S All4 for a little over two months, but we haven't spent much time on one of the most often used – and complex – bits of the car.

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When Mini announced plans to bring the Countryman to its showrooms, the brand's acolytes recoiled in horror at the thought of a bloated all-wheel-drive model joining the range. To prove that the new micro-crossover has the chops to live up to Mini's race pedigree, Mini partnered with Prodrive to create the Countryman WRC. There was much rejoicing. Now EVO Magazine has put the little rally beast through its paces on a track.

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2011 Mini Countryman WRC – Click above to watch video after the jump

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The Mini Countryman is multiplying – Click above to watch video after the jump

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2011 Mini Countryman – Click above for high-res image gallery

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Mini Countryman premiere video – Click above to view the video after the jump

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