Having arrived with a car that looked entirely incongruous and sounded slightly odd, Mini made its mark on the World Rally Championship early.
Now, three rallies old, the Mini WRC is a player. And a podium player at that.
It's fair to say that this project gave ammunition to its doubters: from its unconventional beginnings in a generic CAD design to the structuring of the commercial side of a programme which shouts big BMW budget but relies partly on car sales and customers to float the finances.
Nobody, however, can detract from what that triangular alliance of BMW-Mini-Prodrive has achieved.
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David Evans is the rallies editor of Autosport and Motorsport News. A successful rally driving father ensured an early introduction to motorsport and, fascinated as he was by rallying, the fourth estate was of equal interest. Having read (or at least looked at the pictures) from the age of two, he joined <i>Motoring News</i> in 1996 and later moved to Autosport in 2002.@davidevansrally More features by David Evans