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MINI Countryman on it’s way on asphalt

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Kris Meeke at Blair Altholl Castle Services. P...

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MINI driver Kris Meeke says he was delighted with his first taste of the MINI Countryman WRC on asphalt after running the car for two days in Sardinia last week. Beyond some rudimentary shakedown mileage completed in the UK, the Countryman had never turned a wheel in anger on asphalt prior to Meeke’s Sardinia test close to Sassari.

The Northern Irish driver said the car was everything he’d hoped for, reporting positive feedback in what was only the car’s third ever test. “The car was great,” said Meeke. “The feedback from the chassis was perfect and that’s something which is much more pronounced on asphalt. I have driven a lot of cars in the last few years and I can tell you this one has been born very well. I’m really pleased, I just want to get on and drive it more and more.”

In addition to the asphalt running, Meeke also drove the car for two days on gravel, where he established a base set-up for the car’s suspension.

The team’s technical boss David Lapworth, who was present throughout the test, added: “We made a few sensitivity changes to see how the car reacted on asphalt, but we ended the test very close to where we had started in terms of set-up, which was very good.”

The test also offered MINI the first opportunity to test Michelin’s asphalt tyre. Lapworth said: “We tested soft and hard [asphalt] tyres in wet and dry conditions. The weather went from very wet to nearly dry on the first day and nearly dry to dry on the next day. When we arrived at the test and the rain was horizontal and the wind was 50 miles per hour or something, we thought this could be a disaster, but the conditions actually turned out to be very good. And, let’s face it, when you can experience those conditions on a rally, you’ve got to be prepared for them by testing.”

Spaniard Dani Sordo, who is discussing a possible deal to drive for MINI in next year’s WRC, also attended the test.

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Written by joostboers

05/12/2010 at 7:22 pm

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