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2011 Mini Countryman WRC in Monte Carlo - Click above for high-res image gallery

Back in the 1960s, the Monte Carlo Rally ran from Marrakech to Monaco (the opposite direction from the Paris-Dakar) and the old-guard Mini made headlines when it took the checkered flag in '64 an '67. These days, the Dakar rally has moved to South America, and the much shorter Monte Carlo rally is part of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge instead of the premier World Rally Championship. But though the scene has changed, Mini's back, and back in a big way.

That Mini will be challenging the WRC with a competition-spec Countryman prepared by Prodrive isn't news - we've been covering that story for over a year now. But as the final version enters its last stages of development before the 2011 season, the Mini WRC has taken a rapid trip down memory lane by reuniting with its '60s forebear at the Rallye Monte Carlo Historique.

Not only did the trip prove an excellent photo opportunity - the vintage Mini rally machine driven by the same Ruano Aaltonen that finessed it to victory in '67 appearing alongside its much larger successor - but also gave us our first look at the rally-ready Countryman WRC before it undergoes its final testing in Spain. After that, it will challenge a few select stages at the hands of Kris Meeke and Dani Sordo before contesting the full calendar next year. Follow the jump for the full press release, and don't miss out on the photos in the gallery below.

Gallery: Mini Countryman WRC in Monte Carlo

[Source: Mini]Continue reading Mini rallies back to Monte Carlo with new Countryman WRC

Mini rallies back to Monte Carlo with new Countryman WRC originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 03 Feb 2011 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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