Mini team boss David Richards says his squad is showing the true potential of its car on this week's Rallye Deutschland.
Dani Sordo's John Cooper Works WRC is third going into the final day of the Trier-based event, while Kris Meeke is two places further back in fifth place having dropped time with a puncture on the penultimate stage of the day.
Richards said: "We've had a couple of sensible events and now we wanted to let the drivers off the lead a little bit. It was time to show the performance of the car. While we're not there yet, we're not far away, and for only our third event and our first asphalt event the team can be very proud of itself."
Mini technical director Dave Wilcock added: "We're very pleased with today. Dani started the day 21 seconds behind Mikko Hirvonen and he's ahead of him and Kris started the day two seconds ahead of Petter Solberg and he's nine up on him now. That's a good day."
Meeke summarised his day as both pleasing and frustrating.
"It's good," he said. "This is my first time here in a World Rally Car, so I'm quite happy with what we've done, but the trouble is that I know what I can do. We were 0.1s up on Dani at the first split before we got the puncture, but that's the way it is sometimes.
"We lost some more time on the last stage when we cracked a rim on the left rear. I guess we were lucky in some ways the wheel didn't break, but we had a big vibration and couldn't push as hard as we wanted. The car's fantastic, though. I'm still smiling - especially when we're setting some green split times!"