MINI ceases works involvement in the WRC
October 17, 2012 by Tony Gregory
It has been announced that MINI will terminate its works involvement in the FIA World Rally Championship at the end of the 2012 season, with a switch in focus towards customer rallying.
Unfortunately this finally ends any tentative hopes of Ulsterman Kris Meeke returning to a full works Mini drive after Meeke was sensationally dropped from the Mini WRC team after a pre-season funding crisis. This left Meeke on the WRC sidelines and has only been used as a Prodrive testing and development driver. Ironical then that its been Ireland leading the way this season with privately owned WRC Mini’s, achieving notable results on national championship rallies with Meeke himself registering a commanding win in Lurgan Park, with seven fastest times across eight special stages to secure the Turkington Perpetual Trophy in the McGeehan Motorsport’s WRC Mini.
With Mini abandoning its works involvement in the WRC at the end of the 2012 season Team Mini Portugal will have competed in every rally in 2012. As such, in accordance with FIA regulations, they will have achieved the WRC homologation for the MINI John Cooper Works. In doing so, they will have achieved the prerequisites to allow those interested to continue to run the car in the WRC on a customer rallying basis.
BMW Motorsport will continue to further develop the 1.6-litre turbo engine in conjunction with Prodrive and provide Prodrive with parts. The Mini family intends to retain its presence on various international platforms and the Mini John Cooper Works WRC continuing to run competitively in WRC and other championships. Mini Motorsport has secured the future of its customer teams, while Prodrive will still be able to run, optimise and sell vehicles in the future.
From its rallying debut early in 2011, the Mini John Cooper Works WRC turned out to be a successful model: Mini drivers collected three podiums and many top-ten finishes at the wheel of this car. Arguably the biggest success was achieved by Dani Sordo (ES) in January 2012, when he finished second at the comeback of Mini at the legendary Monte Carlo Rally.