Press Report : MINI reveals undisguised Countryman S2000 in Monte Carlo

David Evans, Rallies Editor, Autosport, 2nd February, 2011

MINI has released the first pictures of the MINI S2000, complete with the new bodywork.

The Countryman-based rally car was present in Monaco at the end of the Monte Carlo Historic Rally, where former Monte winner Rauno Aaltonen had driven an original Cooper S to 109th place.

Aaltonnen and his then BMC team-mate and fellow Monte winner Paddy Hopkirk were joined harbourside by MINI newboys Kris Meeke and Dani Sordo, where the Cooper S and Countryman S2000 sat alongside each other.

The bodywork on the S2000 car features revised front and rear aerodynamics, but these are not the final wings which are expected to be seen on the World Rally Car when it makes its debut in May on Rally d’Italia.

The MINI present in Monte Carlo is likely to make its S2000 debut in the hands of Daniel Oliveira on the Rally of Portugal in March.

Hopkirk said: “It is very interesting to be here and I was delighted to see Rauno looking so well and the car looking so good. It is just great to see it all being revived. When we won it was not just motorsport news, but front-page news and I even got a telegram from the Beatles and the Prime Minister and I was given the keys to Belfast. I do admire the talents of these guys. Kris took me around the Prodrive test track in the MINI WRC and it was absolutely fantastic.”

Meeke added: “It is great for Dani and me to be competing for MINI and taking up that legendary spirit. Everything is going extremely well and I think the fundamental DNA of the car is very, very good. At this early stage of the development everyone is really excited as it seems to be hitting all the targets that were set out in the development phase.”

Sordo, who recently joined MINI from Citroen, concluded: “I have driven the car less than Kris but I have been on both tarmac and gravel. Honestly the feel of the car was really good. We still need to improve in certain areas, but this is normal because the car is new.

“Our MINI is new to rallying but in Prodrive we have a lot of experience and they have achieved many things in the sport. Kris and I will try to do the best we can. At the moment the car is really good and getting better and better.”

MINI has also announced that it will formally launch its MINI WRC team at Cowley, Oxford on the 13th April, 2011.

[Source: Autosport]

Clive Goldthorp


  1. No doubt the MINI S2000 will do the business, but as for looks! One assumes that, at least, its Mother loves it!

  2. The MINI S2000 looks quite good from the front – showing it next to the original just illustrates how far BMW have brought this car.

  3. Umm, it’s a foot wider and about the same taller – yup, it’s a real mini…

    Oh man, is that thing ugly – I thought the original C***ryman/Clubfoot/Pacemaker were bad enough, but this thing is a whole new level of vile…

    Oh, and forgive me if I am wrong here, but rallying means a lot of stones and bits of tree/spectator/spectators’ dog bouncing around the place – so wouldn’t it be a good idea to protect important components like radiators a little better? I reckon that, right now, this looks purpose-built to be sitting on the side of the track with half a local oak protruding from what’s left of the oil cooler/radiator…

  4. BMW and Chrysler are “proud” to announce the birth of their first grandchild – to Ms Issigonis Mini and her partner Dodge Ram. For f**k’s sake!!

  5. The front of the Countryman S2000 reminds me of the Canadian market Minis which had their bumpers halfway up the grille – have a look at this photograph of one belonging to a member of the Vancouver Mini Club.

    When does a MINI stop being “mini”? BMW might as well have called the original Freelander a MINI and taken it rallying with a tenuous link to Paddy Hopkirk.

    The grille definitely needs work, as suggested. Get a few Lucas lamps on there!

  6. The fact that Prodrive are building the car puts its heritage closer to the Subaru Impreza than the car it’s sitting next to.

    I would be interested to know how many parts it shares with the ‘road-going’ version.

  7. Blimey, the orginal Mini could get inside and actually drive the new one.

    I know that, due to crumple zones and the fact they we’re all fat (unlike people at the time the orginal was designed i.e. bodies developing just after WW2 and still subject to rationing), cars are bigger these days, but why is this such a minger?

    This thing fell out of the ugly tree and hit its face on the way down!

  8. I wonder if Paddy will make a few quid with some aftermarket accessories on the BMW version? I expect he has a few ‘end of line’ roof boxes that will fit that thing and some perished anti-static/car sickness thingies :-P.

  9. A word in defence of Kris Meeke: I saw him on the Belfast special stage of WRC Rally Ireland a couple of years ago and he was up there in the standings amongst the WRC boys!

    He seems to be a fantastic, but overlooked, rally driver so fair play to him – it’s good to see more local talent on the world stage. Northern Ireland has its fair share of drivers (both Hopkirk and Meeke hail from the place).

    Just a shame about the car :).

  10. BMW/MINI must design their cars in the dark or maybe the design remit is come up with the ugliest car ever?


  11. Darren :
    BMW/MINI must design their cars in the dark or maybe the design remit is come up with the ugliest car ever?

    You have obviously not seen its nearest competitor: the hideous new Nissan Juke small ‘soft roader’ based on the Micra platform.

    I believe both cars have long waiting lists so someone must know what the buyers want…

  12. Coke Star :
    What’s the brand of the lorry on the right?

    That’s what I also think about this ugly car. There is only one Mini and it was built between 1959 and 2000.

    Paul, a REAL Mini lover from Belguim.

  13. Paul Van Nijen :

    Coke Star :
    What’s the brand of the lorry on the right?

    That’s what I also think about this ugly car. There is only one Mini and it was built between 1959 and 2000.

    Paul, a REAL Mini lover from Belguim.

    Bang on!

  14. I saw my first MINI Countryman on the road here in NZ today – it certainly wasn’t mini and it certainly wasn’t pretty.

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