Nevertheless, with Kris Meeke running as high as 4th place on Friday morning, before a throttle problem caused him to drive off course and return to action under superally rules the next day, and Dani Sordo driving a lonely rally to 6th place, Richards agrees that the team has set a more than decent mark for the events to come.
“We have proved what we can do and I think it has set the mark and set the standard,” said the Prodrive boss after Rally d'Italia. “(...) All signs are really encouraging and we have no real reliability problems at all that we are concerned about. We have to take a lot of positives from the event.”
Following some further glitches to Meeke's throttle on Saturday, the team decided to take the British driver out of action for the remainder of the event, in order to properly investigate the issue encountered by his John Cooper Works. In the meantime, Sordo had no problem maintaining a decent pace in the mid-pack, finishing 45 seconds behind Ford's Mads Ostberg.
“I’m really happy we’ve finished the rally with some points,” said Sordo after the rally. “It’s difficult to fight when the gaps to the driver in front and behind are big but it’s nice to take the experience with a new car and with a new team.”
Following the Italian event, the MINI mechanics will look into the ups and downs of this past weekend and try to build on it for the team's next official outing in the WRC, Rally Finland, scheduled in late July.