Belfast Telegraph

Mini, minus Meeke, may not take it to the max

By Sammy Hamill

The John Cooper Mini team have finally confirmed their entry in the 2012 World championship — but without Kris Meeke.

The Prodrive-run team missed the original December 19 deadline and, after being given an extension by the FIA, revealed that, due to financial problems, they planned to field one factory Mini Countryman WRC for Spaniard Dani Sordo with Meeke replaced in the second car for the Monte Carlo Rally at least by the pay-to-drive Corsican Pierre Campana.

It is not thought the Mini team will do all 13 rounds of the championship even though this is a requirement for manufacturers.

Mini's parent company BMW is known to be unhappy about the level of TV coverage in Germany and about the ongoing situation with promoter and television rights holders, North One Sports, and the future of its parent company which is in administration following the arrest of its owner on fraud charges.

An FIA spokesman said: “We are addressing those concerns.”

He added: “This is not an ideal situation. Ideally we 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.”

Meeke, meanwhile, remains silent, the Ulster driver, who has two years left on his contract, refusing to comment while negotiations go on behind the scenes.

Belfast Telegraph


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