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WRC NEWS 

Customer Mini to compete in Portugal

Daniel OliveiraThe first customer-run Mini will join the World Rally Championship before the works team this year, with Brazilian Daniel Oliveira set to begin his campaign on Rally Portugal in March.

The 25-year-old Brazilian, who competed in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in 2010, has agreed a deal with Prodrive to enter a Super 2000-spec Mini on the third event of the WRC season, before switching to a WRC-spec version later in the year.

Oliveira will be co-driven by Portugal's Carlos Magalhaes, the pair having driven together in the IRC last year.

Prodrive had already revealed that it was likely to run customer Minis before its own works effort entered a WRC event.

Richard Taylor, Prodrive's business development director, told AUTOSPORT before Christmas: "It's likely that he will compete in the world championship with his car before the official Mini team arrives with the Countryman WRC."

Prodrive is due to resume testing of the Countryman in mainland Europe this month.

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