There was a fair bit of hullabaloo two years ago when Mini announced a return to the World Rally Championship for this season, but the road to making that happen has been as rocky as a gravel stage. It spent 2011 developing its JCW Countryman WRC challenger, changing its mind about how it wanted to work with Prodrive, dumped a driver due to budget issues, then registering its entry after the deadline had passed in a ploy that might or might not have been a protest aimed at the WRC promoter.
Mini – or Prodrive, the outfit that preps Mini's rally cars – has inexplicably failed to file for entry into the 2012 World Rally Championship before the series' December 20 deadline. Mini's first year back at the top level of rallying as a development team yielded two podiums, and the company hasn't stepped back from its stated desire to win the whole championship in 2013. Word is that parent BMW is gung-ho to continue but that there are "significant issues which need to be resolved
Autocar reports that Mini may be working on a more sinister version of Countryman. The hotter crossover would receive the once-over by the rally kings at Prodrive using lessons learned from the Mini WRC effort. Dave Richards, the head honcho at Prodrive, has made it clear that road-going versions of the Countryman WRC are a possibility, and Autocar was able to snag a few photos an aggressive Countryman wearing a fixed carbon fiber wing and custom alloy wheels. The report dishes on further detail