The Down Rally is back on the 21st July, with Mini WRC interest in the shape of John Cooper Works WRC, participating in the Protyre MSA Asphalt Rally Championship and the Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship respectfully.
This year’s event, once again sponsored by Carryduff Forklift, has seen an unprecedented number of entries, with organisers being delighted at the interest shown for the 2018 rally. This will be the first time the Protyre MSA Asphalt Rally Championship have staged an event in Northern Ireland.
John Cooper Works Mini WRC – Built For Racing.
The Mini Cooper is often interchangeable with the term ‘Mini’; for many people who may not be aficionados, they’re the first brand they think of when the term ‘Mini’ is mentioned, such was the popularity and reputation that the Cooper built up. Designed by John Cooper, a renowned designer of rally and Formula One cars, to be a more ‘sporty’ version of the original Morris Mini Minor, its appearance in popular media, such as 1969’s The Italian Job, saw the Mini Cooper’s reputation as a racing icon secured.
John Cooper Works were founded in 2000 by Michael Cooper, the son of John Cooper. They originally were a standalone company, producing tuning parts and accessories for BMW’s new version of the Mini. The company was formally incorporated into the German car giant in 2002 and six years later, bought them out completely.
The Mini Cooper Works WRC rally car made its competitive debut during the 2011 World Rally Championship season, becoming the first rally car to carry the ‘Mini’ label in top-level competition since the 1960’s. With a design based on the brand’s popular ‘Countryman’, the parts that JCW designed, works with a direct-injection 1.6L turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine. The engine itself was first developed by BMW’s motorsport team for a range of series’, including the World Touring Car Championship.
Since its debut, the popularity of the Mini WRC has gone from strength-to-strength, featuring in a wide range of events across the world. Including, of course, the 2018 Carryduff Down Rally.
The Down Rally 2018.
Taking place around 100 miles of closed road stages, this new event on the Protyre Rally Championship calendar will be the antepenultimate event of a season that started in Epynt in Wales and has since visited the Isle of Man, Belgium (twice), before the County Down event. The penultimate and final rounds will be taking place in Mewla, again in Wales and Otterburn in Northumberland.
In the Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship, the Down Rally marks past the midway point of the competition; with 3 stages to go after the event, it promises to be an exciting marker for the destination of the 2018 Championship.
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