The Mini WRC Team scored its first podium finish in only its third World Rally Championship start on Rallye Deutschland. A flawless drive allowed Dani Sordo to finish in third position, finishing 48.1 seconds ahead of Mikko Hirvonen.
Teammate Kris Meeke had been running in a strong fifth place until slipping behind Petter Solberg on the second stage of the final day due to an off-road excursion into the vineyards caused by what he described as an 'optimistic' pacenote. A loss of electrical power then brought his rally to an end on stage 18.
“I don't know where to start to thank all the people who have made this possible,” said team principal David Richards. “If I look at the long list of everyone who has had faith in this project from the very first day we started it's a long one, and I would like to thank everyone of them as without them none of this would be possible.
“Dani has driven an impeccable event, and never put a foot wrong. I never doubted his abilities. Poor Kris – if there was any bad luck it was always with him. To have such cruel luck on the second to last stage I really feel for him, but his day will come. He has proved how competitive he can be here and I am sure he is looking forward to France.”
Sordo said: “I am really, really happy for me and the team. For the first rally of the car on tarmac this is very good. This is a surprise and the times were so close to Ford and Citroen that we have a lot of confidence for the next rally. The car is really good on tarmac. We have a good set-up and the suspension is perfect.
“Obviously we can improve and get the car better and better but this weekend it was okay. We shall now work a lot to try and beat Citroen as well. I tried to push hard on the power stage and it was great to be third, but I didn't want to take any risks. The mechanics have worked really hard and not made any mistakes so I hope to spend some time with them tonight.”
Meeke commented: “The day started out as going to be a bit of a battle with Petter Solberg. We held him in the first one and then on the second we had a little error on the pace note side as the note I had made on the recce was a little bit optimistic and I missed my braking point and lost ten seconds there.
“After lunch it was very wet and there was only a second between myself and Petter on the first stage, and then on the next about halfway through the car started to cut out on me, eventually stopped completely and there was nothing we could do. It was quite clear it was an electrical issue as there was no power to the control box inside the car. It was traced to just a little wire that had come off and it was one of those things.”