Meeke will not contest the Monte Carlo Rally following Mini's decision to only run one factory driver
|By David Evans||Friday, December 23rd 2011, 12:41 GMT|
British World Rally Championship star Kris Meeke will not contest the Monte Carlo Rally next month, following Mini's decision to only run one of its two factory drivers on every 2012 round.
Meeke has been told of the team's decision not to enter him on the Valence-based season-opener. The the Northern Irishman was out of contact when AUTOSPORT tried to reach him but took a philosophical approach on Twitter, telling his followers: "Ever had the girl you love tell you she's going to work as a prostitute?"
AUTOSPORT'S sources have confirmed that while Meeke won't compete on every world championship round in 2012, he remains part of the Mini World Rally Team.
A source in Germany confirmed the news, saying: "[Dani] Sordo will do every rally, but Kris Meeke won't. He will still test for the team, but he misses Monte Carlo. The second car will be driven by local drivers."
French Federation-backed driver Pierre Campana will partner Sordo in Monte Carlo.
The organisers of the Monte Carlo Rally have confirmed that a third possible entry was sought by Mini - which would have been taken by Meeke, had budget been sourced. Unfortunately, Mini was unable to find the funds in time.
Meeke will now be confined to what is essentially a third car when and where the money can be found to run it.
Prodrive, the Banbury team which runs Mini's World Rally Championship programme, declined to comment on its 2012 plans.
Sources close to Prodrive have confirmed a determination to keep Meeke's 2012 season hopes alive.
"Kris is part of the team and an exceptional driver," said the source. "We want to see him in the Mini on every round possible next year."
Sordo has scored two podiums in the Mini John Cooper works WRC's debut season, but it iss Meeke who has the longer contract with parent company BMW. The former IRC champion's agreement with BMW/Mini runs until the end of 2013, while Sordo's is up at the end of 2012.
While the decision from Germany might not be the one British fans would have hoped for, it does at least appear to confirm Mini's participation in the WRC next season.
Official confirmation from Munich is expected in the coming days.