2010 Paris Auto ShowJust the Facts:
- New WRC equipment for 2011 will be unveiled at the Paris auto show.
- New models are the Ford Fiesta, Citroen DS3 and Mini Countryman.
- Mini returns to rally after a long absence, replacing departed Subaru.
PARIS — Ford, Citroen and Mini are unveiling their World Rally Championship machines for 2011 at the 2010 Paris Auto Show.
The debut is happily timed with this weekend's 11th round of the 2010 season in France.
The iconic Mini marque's return to rally racing next year was confirmed in July. The original Mini Cooper was a force in the 1960s and returns via an effort by its present parent company, BMW. The car will compete in a limited schedule next year and full-time in 2012.
Two-time champion Marcus Gronholm has been testing a competition model of the Countryman developed by Prodrive. Gronholm is a possible third driver for the team, which has signed Kris Meeke and Per-Gunnar Andersson for six races in 2011.
Mini replaces Subaru, which has discontinued its program, as the third manufacturer competing in the series.
French manufacturer Citroen will display the DS3, replacement for the highly successful C4. That model has won seven of 10 rounds this year, with Sebastien Loeb taking five victories and Sébastien Ogier winning two other rounds.
The Fiesta will replace the Focus as Ford's WRC entry next year. Leading drivers are Mikko Hirvonen, who won the season-opening Rally Sweden in February, and Jari-Matti Latvala, who scored victories at New Zealand and Finland.
All three models will feature new-spec 1.6-liter turbocharged engines.
This year's Rally de France opens a new chapter in the history of the event, held from 1973-2008 in Corsica. Its new venue is near Strasbourg, near the German border in the Alsace region. The event's name is Rallye Alsace-Vosges.
Two more events remain on the calendar, in Spain October 22-24 and Wales November 11-14.
Edmunds.com says: The equipment is of great interest, but Loeb has stolen the show in WRC with six consecutive championships since he lost the 2003 title by a single point to Petter Solberg in his first full season. He is en route to his seventh straight title in 2010. — David Green, Correspondent