After Carlos del Barrio and Dani Sordo finished second on the popular Monte Carlo Rally, MINI is now set for a long-term brand presence in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). On February 2, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) accepted a two-vehicle manufacturer entry by WRC Team MINI Portugal into the 2012 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers.
Consequently, MINI will fulfill the homologation for the MINI John Cooper Works WRC. Manning the WRC Team MINI Portugal are Armindo Araújo with co-driver Miguel Ramalho and Paulo Nobre with co-driver Edu Paula.
The team will compete in 2012 FIA World Rally Championship's remaining 12 events. This long-term homologation makes sure that the MINI John Cooper Works WRC can be utilized in the premier league of rallying as well as in other series in accordance with FIA regulations until 2018.
The engagement with Prodrive will be placed on a new basis. Prodrive is still responsible for the support and construction of MINI John Cooper Works WRC customer automobiles. It will also continue to cooperate with the BMW Group on the further development of the vehicle. The WRC Team, which is run by Prodrive, will begin as a works-supported private team from now on.
Dr. Kay Segler, Senior Vice President MINI Business Coordination and Brand Management, commented that he is "delighted" that MINI's future in the WRC has been secured on a long-term basis.
He added that they "remain convinced" that the sport of rallying is "perfectly suited" to the brand.
He further stated that the current scenario means the MINI Motorsport family "can, and will," still be growing on the rally scene. With three podiums from only seven starts in the international championship, the MINI John Cooper Works WRC has "already emphatically proven its potential," he stated.