According to Autosport, MINI has finally confirmed it’s 2012 World Rally Car entry. But it wasn’t without some drama. Apparently MINI has been unhappy with the sports coverage in BMW’s home market of Germany. Is it possible that MINI was playing hardball with the WRC in order to get better TV coverage for an important market? It surely seems that way. Either way here’s the FIA’s official statement via Autosport:
AUTOSPORT’s source in the FIA said: “We have an agreement that Mini will be registered as a manufacturer for this year’s championship. We understand there are existing concerns over the position of the promoter – and particularly the implications for the sport’s coverage in Germany, but we are addressing those concerns.”
But how much MINI will actually participate throughout the year remains to be seen. Again here’s an excerpt from Autosport:
While Mini has committed a car to the full world championship, it remains to be seen whether Sordo will compete in the most expensive rounds of the series, such as Rally New Zealand, or whether one of private Mini drivers takes the entry.
The source added: “This is not an ideal situation. Ideally we wanted, in fact everybody involved wanted, the original plan of two cars, two drivers: Sordo and Meeke doing all 13 rounds. That wasn’t possible, so we had to find a solution which we have done. The priority here is that Mini is a manufacturer in the 2012 WRC.”
Regardless MINI’s 2012 season will begin when the WRC returns (after a long absence) to sacred ground for MINI; the Monte Carlo Rally. It all happens from January 17th through the 22nd.