Banbury's Mini World Rally Championship team are hoping for another top placing as they head for Strasbourg and their fourth event of the year, Rally France-Alsace.

The team are keen to capitalise on its third place in Germany for Spaniard Dani Sordo and the tarmac performance shown by the Mini John Cooper Works WRC.

While the rest of the World Rally Championship competitors have been in Australia, the number 37 and 52 Minis have been back at the Prodrive headquarters in Banbury.

Since the Rally Germany, both drivers have been getting valuable time behind the wheel with Kris Meeke attending the Rallyday at Castle Combe, and Dani Sordo shaking the car down at Prodrive’s test track in Warwickshire. The team is also holding a one day pre-event test in France this weekend before the event itself which runs from Thursday, September 29, to October 2.

Team principal David Richards said: “Dani and Kris have proven that the Mini is very competitive on tarmac. Just like in Germany we will be going to France to show the performance of the car and aiming for both drivers to finish in strong positions.

“Whether we can repeat the podium in Trier remains to be seen, but certainly Dani likes the event. “However, Kris is new to the stages, but I am confident he will soon be on the pace as he was in Germany.” Meeke said: "I didn’t start this rally in 2010, which practically makes this a completely new rally for me. “However, I have completed a lot of testing in this region in the past, so I know roughly what to expect.

“The rally is a bit similar to its German counterpart, particularly the sections through the vineyards and on the gravel roads. It is technically very demanding and you cannot afford to lose concentration for a second, your pace notes must be very accurate."

This rally is very much home for Frenchman Sébastien Loeb with the power stage even going through the town he comes from. Not surprisingly last year it was won by Loeb.