The Mini WRC Team are ready to make their World Rally Championship debut on Rally d'Italia this weekend, after the Mini John Cooper Works WRC showed its competitiveness in shakedown on Thursday.

Dani Sordo recorded the sixth fastest time on the 2.06 km Monte Pinau test, where Petter Solberg posted the quickest time in his privateer Citroen. Jari-Matti Latvala was second for Ford Abu Dhabi, with Mads Ostberg third for M-Sport Stobart. Sebastien Ogier was fourth in the best of the factory Citroens, with Henning Solberg fifth for M-Sport Stobart.

Sordo's time was just seven tenths off Ogier, two tenths quicker than Ford driver Mikko Hirvonen, and three tenths quicker than former teammate at Citroen Sebastien Loeb, who could only manage ninth.

“This is now the start and everything is very new,” said Sordo. “We have a hard working team and this is so important as we have a lot to do. At the moment we don't know how the car will be, but this is the first time for all of us together on a rally and so we just have to wait and see what happens. In the past Mini has been a very important name in rallying and I am happy to be part of its return to the sport.”

Teammate Kris Meeke was twelfth fastest. “This is a big challenge ahead of us,” he said, “especially as on day one we have over 130 kilometres of stages and only the remote service. This is one of the reasons why we have chosen this event so we can learn as much as possible about the car. Our aim this year is to make the car as competitive as possible on every surface.”