Mini to withdraw backing for works WRC team at end of 2012

Mini is to withdraw its financial support for its works team - WRC Team Mini Portugal - at the end of this season

Mini to withdraw backing for works WRC team at end of 2012

The team's drivers Chris Atkinson and Paulo Nobre face an uncertain future with the Motorsport Italia-run squad following an announcement by Dr Key Segler, senior vice-president of Mini business coordination and brand management, on Friday.

Segler said: "Mini will abandon its works involvement in the WRC at the end of the 2012 season."

FIA World Rally Championship regulations stated that Mini had to contest every round of the season for its WRC machine to fulfil its homologation obligations.

With this to be completed by the end of the season, the budget for running the works cars in 2013 has been withdrawn.

Segler added: "By the end of the season WRC Team Mini Portugal will have competed in every rally in 2012.

"As such, in accordance with FIA regulations, we will have achieved the WRC homologation for the Mini John Cooper Works.

"In doing so, we would have achieved the prerequisites to allow those interested to continue to run the car in the WRC on a customer rallying basis.

"In a very difficult commercial environment, Mini has played an active role in ensuring that friends of the Mini brand can continue to participate in motorsport.

"As such, the Mini family is retaining its presence on various international platforms and getting even closer to its customers.

"We would like to see the Mini John Cooper Works WRC continue to run competitively in WRC and other championships.

"We would like to thank Prodrive, WRC Team Mini Portugal and our partners for the good cooperation, and wish all drivers, teams and customers a successful future in rallying."

While Mini's decision has a significant impact on Motorsport Italia's 2013 plans, it does not affect Prodrive's participation in next year's world championship.

Segler added: "BMW Motorsport will continue to further develop the 1.6-litre turbo engine in conjunction with Prodrive."

Prodrive's business development director Richard Taylor said the Banbury firm was already looking forward to next season.

Taylor, whose Prodrive team has clinched all three of the Mini's podium spots on WRC rounds, said: "We understand Mini's decision and in the current challenging economic climate it was not unexpected.

"It is however good news that Mini remains enthusiastic about the WRC and wishes to see Mini rally cars continuing to run competitively in the WRC and other championships.

"We look forward to continuing to work with Mini and BMW Motorsport to maximise the performance of both WRC and S2000 Minis on behalf of our mutual customers and our own WRC team."

shares
comments
Sebastien Loeb still as motivated as ever to win Rally d'talia

Previous article

Sebastien Loeb still as motivated as ever to win Rally d'talia

Next article

Ford to withdraw works support for World Rally Championship

Ford to withdraw works support for World Rally Championship
Load comments

About this article

Series WRC
Author David Evans
Why the casualty of rallying's evolution should still be cherished Plus

Why the casualty of rallying's evolution should still be cherished

The WRC's support categories are in a process of streamlining that will spell the end of a formalised 2WD world championship-level category. While its relevance to the top level has been questioned for some time, that doesn't mean it should be swept quietly under the carpet

WRC
Apr 5, 2021
Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads Plus

Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads

With all three major manufacturers committing to the World Rally Championship’s hybrid era from 2022, the future of the series is assured for now, but it could lead to trickier twists and turns further down the road

WRC
Apr 1, 2021
How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally Plus

How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally

Ott Tanak made up for a disastrous Monte Carlo Rally by leading all the way on the snow-kissed stages of the Arctic Rally Finland and in the process hit back at an event Toyota had been expected to dominate

WRC
Mar 1, 2021
What to expect from the WRC's venture to the Arctic Plus

What to expect from the WRC's venture to the Arctic

This week's Arctic Rally Finland will bring the World Rally Championship into new territory. And, almost without exception, the service park can't wait for the subzero challenge to commence

WRC
Feb 25, 2021
How Ogier achieved a fitting Monte Carlo farewell Plus

How Ogier achieved a fitting Monte Carlo farewell

Against pandemic-shaped odds, the World Rally Championship season opener went ahead in Monte Carlo last weekend as a familiar face again took top spot. But for an emotional Sebastien Ogier, his record-breaking eighth win meant more than most

WRC
Jan 25, 2021
What to look out for in the 2021 WRC Plus

What to look out for in the 2021 WRC

As the 2021 World Rally Championship prepares to launch amid tight COVID-19 restrictions in Monte Carlo, here are the eight things unrelated to the pandemic that you should keep an eye on this year

WRC
Jan 21, 2021
Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021 Plus

Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021

He came close to the title last year, and now Toyota's Elfyn Evans gives his verdict on what to expect from 2021 as the World Rally Championship prepares to reconvene for the Monte Carlo season opener

WRC
Jan 20, 2021
Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call Plus

Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call

OPINION: With Rally GB dropping off the World Rally Championship calendar for the second year in a row, one of Britain's best-attended sporting events faces an uncertain future. It's an unfortunate situation that points to troubling times ahead

WRC
Jan 12, 2021