MINI WRC BECOMES 'WORKS-SUPPORTED'
BMW, Mini and Prodrive officially downgrade WRC participation
Instead, the cars will compete as a 'works-supported team' from now on under the Mini Team Portugal banner and run by Motorsport Italia.
Prodrive will also continue to run a pair of cars and will be at this week's Rally Sweden with Patrick Sandell and Dani Sordo - fresh from an impressive second place in the Monte Carlo rally - at the wheel.
Mini is, of course, trying to put a positive spin on things. And there is some cause for cheer, as Prodrive will continue to build and support customer cars while continuing to develop the car for BMW. The car has also been guaranteed homologation until 2018.
"I am delighted that the future of Mini in the WRC has been secured on a long-term basis," says Dr Kay Segler, Mini's brand boss. “We remain convinced that the sport of rallying is perfectly suited to our brand. The situation we now find ourselves in means the Mini Motorsport family can, and will, continue to grow on the rally scene. With three podiums from just seven starts in the world championship, the Mini John Cooper Works WRC has already emphatically proven its potential.”
Three podiums from seven starts, in a not-fully-developed car? That sounds like proven potential. The question is whether a semi-private operation can ever realise that potential...