Kris Meeke got down and dirty as he took the new Mini Countryman WRC to new extremes during the latest test session ahead of the car’s World championship debut in May.
Ulsterman Meeke and Spanish team-mate Dani Sordo were told to drive the Mini to breaking point during a three-day endurance test in Fontjoncouse in the south of France.
And Meeke revelled in these “team orders”, the Prodrive-developed Mini emerging blanketed in mud.
“It was one of the toughest places to go to in Europe for testing and was done in all extremes of weather,” he said.
“There was a massive storm the day before I tested so it was like a real quagmire, which was perfect for us. We found out a lot of things about the car — like the windscreen washers really do work!
“But, seriously, it was a very constructive test, the car took everything we could throw at it, and we know we are moving in the right direction.”
Meanwhile, in the more salubrious surroundings of the Geneva Motor Show, it was confirmed that Meeke and Sordo will make their Mini World championship debut on the Rally d’Italia in Sardinia starting on May 5.
The debut appearance of the new car will be followed by the WRC rounds in Finland, Germany, France, Spain and Great Britain.
A Super 2000 version of the car appeared on the BMW Mini stand in Switzerland.