TG’s slidey, sideways ride in Mini’s new WRC weapon
The rallying Countryman may be a bit brutal to look at, but it’s ready to give the WRC an almighty kick up the backside in 2011
Posted: 14 Apr 2011
The car moves around as if the track is coated in treacle, gliding effortlessly from one extreme of opposite lock to the other. It's soft and rolls more than a race car, yet it never lurches, and over the rally stage's yumps and holes, the ride stays supple and level. It hauls itself out of the slow corners on a wave of ready torque, the revs saw-toothing as the gearbox gets the next ratio like a brutal switch.
Motorsport people don't often have much good to say of the rule makers, but Lapworth says that Jean Todt, FIA president, knows that people will watch rallying only if there are lots of decent entrants. And to do that, the costs have to be contained. But also that people will only keep watching if the cars are spectacular.
As I climb out of the Mini, tyre smoke hanging in the air and a nauseous tide gently rising in my craw, it seems like mission accomplished.