In a shocking turn of events for MINI, the spunky British automaker, has announced it will cancel its World Rally Championship program at the end of the 2012 season.
“MINI will abandon its works involvement in the WRC at the end of the 2012 season,” said MINI VP Dr. Kay Segler in a statement.
The announcement doesn’t, however, mean the end for MINI in WRC, just the end of the official MINI works program. Making it sound as though this was the plan all along, Segler continues. “By the end of the season WRC Team MINI Portugal will have competed in every rally in 2012. As such, in accordance with FIA regulations, we will have achieved the WRC homologation for the MINI John Cooper Works. In doing so, we would have achieved the prerequisites to allow those interested to continue to run the car in the WRC on a customer rallying basis.”
MINI is still committed to the future of WRC and motorsport says Segler, commenting that BMW will continue to develop the 1.6-liter engine that powers that car and Prodrive, which builds the vehicles, will continue to make cars available and support future privateer teams.
Debuting in the 2011 season for testing and then running a full campaign in 2012, MINI driver’s wound up on the podium three times during the season, though never clinched a victory.