Following a remarkable debut season that found the MINI WRC Countryman named 2011 Rally Car of the Year, news has surfaced that the team has missed the filing date to qualify for the 2012 season.
There is a lot of information floating around as to how or why the Prodrive-engineered MINI team missed such an important deadline, and while little has been formally substantiated, it is clear there is more to this issue than meets the eye. Initial rumblings pointed to tension between Prodrive and BMW, a theory which was supported by the last-minute meetings held at Prodrive’s Banbury headquarters which included MINI WRC drivers Kris Meeke and Dani Sordo.
Dani Sordo commented on Facebook:
“Even I don’t know the program for next year. I hope that after an important meeting on Thursday with the team that I know the plans for 2012.”
Several reports say that MINI will be able to receive a deadline extension, but there is also an underlying sense that the issues surrounding MINI’s missed deadline are far more severe than they seem. A few weeks ago Atlantic British heard from a source that the odds of the MINI-Prodrive team competing in the 2012 WRC were very slim. The reason? Lack of funding. Prodrive management has openly discussed their need for funding, but has been unable to acquire a major sponsor thus far.
BMW remains optimistic, with a source saying, “There are a few things to talk about and time has beaten us on the deadline, but the cars will be in Monte Carlo, we couldn’t miss the MINI’s return to that rally.”
As a huge fan of the MINI WRC Team, I certainly hope MINI is able to return to Monte Carlo and once again find success at a venue that put Mini Racing on the map. I will remain optimistic despite the ominous undertones rippling through MINI circles.
SIGN UP for the Latest Deals on MINI Parts & MINI News!
Please wait while we calculate your shipping cost.....