Based on the production version of the MINI Cooper S Countryman, which is the first MINI ever to equipped with an all-wheel-drive system, along with it’s MINI Cooper D Countryman sibling; the John Cooper Works WRC car is powered by a BMW Motorsport tuned 1.6-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged direct injection petrol engine.

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Power is transferred to the wheels via an Xtrack six-speed, sequential gearbox.

It might be years since the MINI brand has ventured into the rally world, but it’s certainly not something new. The MINI Cooper S became a veritable global icon due to its giant killing victories in no less than three Rally Monte Carlo in the 1960s, as well as countless wins in the European Rally Championship.

Experienced driver Dani Sordo, from Spain, will drive the MINI John Cooper Works WRC car on its British debut at the Corbury Park Rally Show this weekend, after a successful first time outing at Rally Italy, where the team finished in sixth place.

MINI has partnered with Rally gurus Prodrive, in its quest for success, and frankly there could be no better partner if you’re after a few wins, or a championship or two.

Founded by Dave Richards in 1984, Prodrive is credited with taking Subaru from relative obscurity to the podium of the World Rally Championship stage. Richards said, “MINI is a cult brand which left a lasting during its previous motorsport campaigns. We are both extremely proud to be on board as a partner when MINI returns to rallying. We aim to use 2011 as a preparatory year, amassing experience in order to ensure we are fully competitive from the start of the following season. But let’s not underestimate the task ahead of us, or the stiff competition we will face on the way. However, our target is firmly set on winning the World Championship title again with MINI.”

The MINI Countryman is the brand’s newest model and although it is a five-door car with a raised height, it still goes like a MINI Cooper.

The MINI Countryman S production car produces an impressive 135 kW (184 bhp) and can accelerate from 0-100kmh in 7.6 seconds.