Kris Meeke insists the new MINI World Rally Team is on target with its development work on the new Countryman WRC as plans continue for the 2011 season.
Meeke and team-mate Dani Sordo will drive the cars on selected events this season ahead of a full World Rally Championship progranne in 2012, with the pair undertaking an extensive testing programme ahead of the new campaign.
Having already sampled the new car on a number of occasions, Meeke said he was happy with the progress made so far.
“It is great for Dani and me to be competing for MINI and taking up that legendary spirit,” he said. “Everything is going extremely well and I think the fundamental DNA of the car is very, very good. At this early stage of the development everyone is really excited as it seems to be hitting all the targets that were set out in the development phase.”
Meeke was speaking in Monte Carlo, where Rauno Aaltonen had just completed a run in a 1960s MINI on the Rallye Monte Carlo Historique. Also present at the end of the event was one of the most famous names ever to drive a MINI in competition, in the shape of Monte Carlo winner Paddy Hopkirk.
“It is very interesting to be here and I was delighted to see Rauno looking so well and the car looking so good,” he said. “It is just great to see it all being revived. When we won it was not just motorsport news, but front page news and I even got a telegram from the Beatles and the Prime Minister and I was given the keys to Belfast.
“I do admire the talents of these guys. Kris took me around the Prodrive test track in the MINI WRC and it was absolutely fantastic.”