WRC Team MINI Portugal takes over. Prodrive to support customer teams

After MINI dropped Kris Meeke at the end of last year – with zero explanation, many of us could hear alarm bells ringing. Today, things just got a little bleaker…

While Prodrive will continue to build and support MINI John Cooper Works WRC customer cars, and develop the vehicle along with the BMW Group, the Banbury-based WRC team will become a supported private team – with immediate effect, it will be Motorsport Italia-run WRC Team MINI Portugal who will be taking a two-car MINI team to every rally throughout 2012, as the offical factory team, with Armindo Araújo and co-driver Miguel Ramalho, and Paulo Nobre and co-driver Edu Paula.

The MINI John Cooper Works WRC will now be homologated, ensuring that it can be used in rallying, and other series conforming to FIA regulations, until the end of 2018.

“I am delighted that the future of MINI in the WRC has been secured on a long-term basis. We remain convinced that the sport of rallying is perfectly suited to our brand. The situation we now find ourselves in means the MINI Motorsport family can, and will, continue to grow on the rally scene,” said MINI’s Dr. Kay Segler.

Dani Sordo and Patrik Sandell will head Prodrive’s MINI Team assault at this week’s Rally Sweden.

Let’s hope BMW’s DTM gamble pays off…

[Source: Autosport]

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