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Old 10-27-2005, 01:32 PM
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International Celebrities At Mini United

INTERNATIONAL CELEBRITIES AT MINI UNITED
10/27/2005

Well-known personalities from A for Aaltonen to Z for Zanardi come together for the Special Guest Race.
Munich/Misano Adriatico, IT. 17 very special fans of the MINI brand will line up at the start for a Special Guest Race on Sunday, 30th October as part of MINI United at the "Circuito Santa Monica". The following will be taking the wheel in technically identical MINI Cooper S with John Cooper Works Tuning Kit: Rauno Aaltonen (Finland), who won the Monte Carlo Rally in the Mini Cooper in 1967, the ex-Formula 1 driver Marc Surer (Switzerland), Paolo Barilla (Italy) and Christian Danner (Germany) and the Italian musician Max Gazzé. The rock bass player, known in Germany among other things for his collaboration with Herbert Grönemeyer and Stephan Eicher ("Taxi Europa"), is an enthusiastic hobby racing driver and MINI enthusiast.

Alex Zanardi, the former Formula 1 driver and several times winner of the CART World Series, will be entering his first race in a MINI Cooper S. Since he lost both legs in a racing accident in 2001, a MINI has been specially adapted to meet his needs. He now successfully drives a BMW 320i in the Touring Car World Cup and is already Italian touring car champion this year. "I watched two MINI CHALLENGE races at the Touring Car World Cup in Oschersleben," says Zanardi. "I was amazed how relaxed things are in this series and how high the technical standards of these vehicles is. I got in one of the MINI CHALLENGE cars and immediately thought: this would be just the thing for me."

Marc Surer and Christian Danner have some experience with the racing version of the MINI Cooper S. Both have been guest participants in the German MINI CHALLENGE in the past. Danner won the race held at the Belgian Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps in 2004. Surer achieved the top time in training at the Belgian Formula 1 race last September, and in the previous year he finished in fifth position.

Alexander Burgstaller (Munich) has even more experienced in handling the 154 kW (220 bhp) MINI Cooper S. The former touring car professional was the first champion in the history of the German MINI CHALLENGE in the 2004 season. He has once again entered the club sport series in 2005 and also acts as the official MINI CHALLENGE ambassador, providing professional advice to the novices among his driver colleagues.

MINI United Special Guest Race participants

Rauno Aaltonen (SF) Winner of Monte Carlo Rally in 1967 in the Mini Cooper
Paolo Barilla (I) Former Formula 1 driver, Vice President Barilla
Markus Barth (D) Motorcycle racing rider, BMW Power Cup
Alexander Burgstaller (D) Champion of German MINI CHALLENGE 2004,
MINI CHALLENGE ambassador
Christian Danner (D) Former Formula 1 driver, TV journalist
Grant Denyer (AUS) Racing driver, V8 Supercar Series, TV journalist
Tony Dron (GB) Former touring car driver, journalist
Max Gazzč (I) Musician
Claudia Hürtgen (D) Winner of the German Touring Car Challenge
in 2003 and German Production Car
Championship in 2004, test driver for the German MINI CHALLENGE
Stéphane Lemeret (B) Racing driver, journalist
James Loukes (GB) Participant in John Cooper Challenge UK,
MINI Plant Oxford Team
Stéphane Mertens (B) Motorcycle racing rider, former Moto GP rider,
winner of BMW Boxer Cup Belgium
Harald Schmidt (D) Winner of young talent sighting
Martin Steyn (RSA) Racing driver, South African MINI Production Car Championship
Marc Surer (CH) Former Formula 1 driver, TV journalist
Stefan Tweraser (A) Head of Marketing, Telekom Austria
Alessandro Zanardi (I) Former Formula 1 driver, Italian Touring Car Champion 2005 in a BMW 320i
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