Ahead of the MINI’s official arrival in the WRC, the car has claimed its first-ever overall rally victory in only its third competitive outing – a MINI John Cooper Works S2000 piloted by Andrea Navarra and co-driver Simona Fedeli has won the Rally dell’Adriatico.

The Grifone team pairing led from the start to the finish of the opening round of the Italian Gravel Championship, based on Italy’s Adriatic coast close to Ancona. The Italian driver finished ahead of Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen, who was in a Skoda Fabia S2000, by 12 seconds in the one-day event.

The win achieved by the regional rally car version of the MINI is certainly a boost for the brand, which will have its official MINI WRC team presenting the full version of the John Cooper Works Countryman-based car next week, ahead of its race debut at the Rally d’Italia-Sardegna in Italy next month.