Prodrive loses WRC contract with MINI
After rumours last week that MINI were planning to end their deal with Prodrive, it has been confirmed that the British motorsport group will no longer partner as the manufacturer entry in the World Rally Championship.
Instead, MINI has signed Portuguese driver Armindo Araujo and Brazilian Paulo Nobre under a Motorsport-Italia WRC MINI Portugal deal to contest the 12 remaining events of the 2012 FIA WRC, replacing Spanish rally driver Dani Sordo, who joined the Prodrive MINI entry in 2011.
Prodrive has now been demoted to providing privateer WRC customer cars, but will continue to develop the WRC MINI.
The long-term homologation of the MINI has been underwritten until 2018.
Prodrive spokesman Ben Sayer said: "It is good news that MINI has committed to staying in the WRC and to continue working with us.
"We've been working with MINI over the last few weeks on finalising the deal, so it came as no shock to us. We've sold almost 20 customer cars already so we expect to see a lot more orders coming up in the future."
"I am delighted that the future of MINI in the WRC has been secured on a long-term basis," said Dr. Kay Segler, Senior Vice President MINI Business Coordination and Brand Management. "We remain convinced that the sport of rallying is perfectly suited to our brand."
Segler added: "With its great enthusiasm and hard work, the Prodrive team has played a major role in the remarkable sporting success we have achieved on our initial outings with the MINI John Cooper Works WRC.
"On behalf of MINI Motorsport, I would like to thank everyone at Prodrive for their efforts so far and we look forward to working with them in support of our MINI John Cooper Works WRC customers in the future."