But the Mini was actually quick everywhere. It won events that were as varied as the RAC Rally in 1965 with Rauno Aaltonen, the Circuit of Ireland with Tony Fall in 1966 and the 1000 Lakes with Timo Makinen in the same year.
It also won its class on numerous occasions at races from Brands Hatch to Sebring. Unbelievably, the Mini even won the Acropolis Rally in 1967 (thanks to Paddy Hopkirk) despite many of the Greek rocks being considerably bigger than the actual car.
Factory Minis stayed rallying right up to the 1970s, with the last notable success being Hopkirk's second place on the Scottish Rally in June 1970. Since then, Minis have competed regularly on historic events, with the very last World Rally Championship participation for a classic Mini taking place on the 2003 Rally Great Britain, when amateur crew Neil Burgess and Jim Holder won their class in a car called 'Mildred'. This was despite the co-driver slicing his finger open while trying to fix a broken alternator, requiring a number of stitches at service on Saturday night.
The Mini's real triumph though has come from being more than a car but instead a part of popular culture. This is due to a number of influences - rallying being a key one - but also thanks to films such as The Italian Job.
Michael Caine, for all his loveable roguishness and insistence on only blowing the bloody doors off, is not the real hero of the film. The stars are the three red, white and blue Minis, driven by a trio of 'chinless wonders' who nonetheless manage to outwit the entire Italian police force, not to mention a monstrous traffic jam. In this film there is nothing the Mini cannot do - and that includes driving through sewers, down cathedral step and across exhibition centre roofs.
No other team has ever come into the World Rally Championship with such a weight of heritage behind it. Now it's up to them to use it.
And the drivers could also take note of another of Sir Alec Issigonis's quotes, when it was pointed out at the launch that the original 1959 Mini was somewhat lacking in crumple zones. "I find that it's much easier to drive without having an accident," was his conclusion.