The more we hear about Mini's quest to run the Countryman in the World Rally Championship, the less and less it sounds like a publicity stunt. The company has just finished testing its prototype rally beater at Prodrive's private test facility, putting the car through its paces over four days and multiple road surfaces. According to Mini, most of the abuse took place on a tarmac circuit, though the team did spend plenty of time getting the car situated on a few low-grip stages. The R&D was prep for an excursion to Portugal, where the team plans to put the Countryman through a full week of gravel testing.

Despite the psycho-swirly camo, Mini says that the racer is currently wearing "an interim body and aero package" while the minds at Prodrive concoct the final lines. It remains to be seen who the company will come up with to helm its high-riding missile. We're just happy to see Mini back in the WRC. Hit the jump for the brief press release.

[Source: Mini]
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MINI Countryman WRC completes shakedown.

* 09.09.2010
* Press Release

Munich. The new MINI Countryman World Rally Car has successfully completed its shakedown phase at Prodrive's private proving ground in Warwickshire.

This initial part of the car's test and development programme took place with the engineering team driving the car over four days, primarily on tarmac, but also including several kilometres on loose surfaces and Prodrive's low grip facility. The car will now travel to Portugal for a week of testing on gravel.

"As with any totally new car, it is vital to take time to ensure all the systems are working as intended before embarking on a week long gravel test," said David Lapworth, Prodrive technical director.

This first test car is running with an interim body and aero package, while design of the final World Rally Car bodywork is underway.

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