Andrea Navarra made history on the Rally dell'Adriatico in Italy last weekend when he gave the brand-new MINI its first-ever overall rally victory.
Navarra, who was driving the Regional Rally Car version of the car run by the Grifone team, led the opening round of the Italian Gravel Championship from start to finish.
He ended up using three sets of Pirelli tyres in the nine stages that made up the 100-kilometre event to win by 12 seconds from Andreas Mikkelsen on only the MINI's third competitive outing.
“It's a great honour for me to give MINI this first victory with Pirelli and another milestone in our history together,” said Navarra, who clinched the Italian Championship with Pirelli and Subaru back in 2004. “It was a fantastic rally that was competitive from start to finish: we had to push hard but in the end we got the result that we wanted.
“The Pirelli Scorpion K6 tyres were extremely effective and reliable from start to finish, giving me the confidence that I needed to go flat-out. One of the big strong points of the MINI is that it is extremely kind to tyres, and this meant that we were able to use the soft compound throughout the event.
“I really enjoyed driving the car: the turbo engine means that you can drive with the throttle all the time compared to a conventional Super 2000 car, where you are driving with the gears.”
“I'd like to congratulate both Andrea and MINI for a very important victory, marking what is sure to be the first of many successes for one of rallying's most iconic brands,” added Pirelli's Motorsport director Paul Hembery. “We're delighted to be able to share in this first overall win, which has underlined the effectiveness of the MINI-Pirelli package.
“For just its third event, this was an extremely promising performance from the Super 2000 MINI and we look forward to supporting the car both at home in Italy and abroad in the future.”
The MINI used by Navarra is built to the latest S2000 regulations and will form the basis of the John Cooper World Rally Car that will make its debut in the WRC on the Rally d'Italia-Sardegna in May.