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After an intense build which has seen many a late night at the Sydney-based RCR Headquarters, Rally Australia hopefuls Ric Cary and Harvey Smith have decided to withdraw their Mini Cooper from the ARC section of this weekend's event.

The team has decided not to run the highly-hyped vehicle, which has been transformed from a dedicated Mini Challenge circuit car into rally-spec over the past seven months; instead choosing to focus on their 2014 campaign without the rush of the Rally Australia deadline.

"Withdrawing from Rally Australia was a hard decision to make, especially after all the long hours that the crew have put into the build," said Cary.

"But after weighing up the good and the bad, we have decided it was better to focus on next year.

“There’s been some long, long nights, two and three in the morning, and we have tried everything to get this car across the line – but with the complex nature of these vehicles, plus time zone differences and ordering parts from the UK and Europe along with fabricating many specialised items, we have simply run out of time,” he admitted.

Cary said that while the team still could make the Coffs Coast-based event, the vehicle would not be prepared to the level the team desires.

“We currently have some electrical chatter to solve, where parts of the car are not talking the same language as the ECU – and learning a new language takes time,” he explained.

“We will still be there, cheering on our mates from the sidelines! But the car will stay home, where we can use the time after the WRC to test the car, iron out all the new wrinkles, and be really ready for 2014.”

Cary hopes to shake down the Mini at several low-key local events before Rally Victoria this year, then complete a full ARC program in 2014.
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