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Published on January 31st, 2012 | by Seán Ward

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Mini Wins First International Rally

Mini broke through a barrier at the weekend, winning an international rally in the John Cooper Works rally car for the first time.

Piloted by Al Kuwari and his co-driving brother, Nasser Al-Kuwari, the pair managed to snatch first at the opening round of the 2012 Middle East Rally Championship.

“It is a fantastic feeling to win this rally,” said Al-Kuwari. “I have achieved success in national rallies in Qatar, but this was the big one. This was the rally I wanted to win.

“It was a great battle with Nasser, and the new car was just fantastic. Without doubt, this is the biggest win of my career.”

Run by Prodrive, the car runs a full WRC spec except with a slightly smaller rear wing and smaller engine restrictor.

Prodrive chairman, David Richards, said: “It is particularly fitting that the Mini’s first international win has come in Qatar, as this was also Prodrive’s first ever rally back in 1984 in the inaugural year of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship, when Saeed Al Hajri took victory in our Rothmans Porsche 911 SC RS.

“Saeed went on to win the Middle East Rally Championship that year; let’s hope Abdulaziz can do the same!”

Kuwait will play host to the next round of the MERC between the 22nd March and the 24th March.

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