MINI WRC Rally d'Italia Sardegna (Sardinia)Enlarge Photo
Late last year, Prodrive missed a deadline, nearly excluding the highly competitive MINI WRC cars from the 2012 WRC season. Ultimately, a deal was reached to allow the team’s late entry into the series, and MINI driver Dani Sordo brought home a second place finish in the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally.
Now, Autoweek is reporting that MINI and Prodrive will be parting company in the coming weeks, at the insistence of BMW. Reports say that Prodrive has been unable to raise sufficient funding for the 2012 WRC season, and BMW has been asked to provide further financial assistance to the team.
That isn’t sitting well with BMW, probably because the automaker has blown the motorsport budget on its reentry into the DTM series. If reports are correct, BMW will pull the WRC program from under Prodrive and hand it off to X-Raid, which built the Dakar-Rally-winning MINI Countryman.
Where that leaves the MINI WRC team is anyone’s guess, especially because Rally Sweden begins this Thursday. Prodrive is insisting that it’s business as usual, while BMW sources say to expect an announcement in the next few days.