Prodrive WRC Team boss Dave Wilcock has confirmed the Banbury-based outfit is 'aiming' to contest Rallye Monte Carlo in January, although he admitted it was too soon to say what their 2013 WRC programme will be.
MINI announced back in October that it will terminate its works involvement in the World Rally
Championship at the conclusion of this season, but Prodrive is keen to continue with the MINI John Cooper Works WRC car and once again in Spain the potential of the car was clear to see.
Indeed Dani Sordo shone, winning six of the final nine stages and recovering to take ninth place overall, despite crashing out on day one and despite having to complete Saturday morning's opening loop on just three cylinders after a fuel injector failed.
Team-mate Jarkko Nikara also impressed on his 'guest' outing with the squad and on his debut event in a World Rally
Car to finish a very impressive fifth.
“I have mixed emotions,” Wilcock said at the finish. “Really pleased that we have shown just how fast the MINI is and that it is already more than a match for the Ford and Citroen, but also disappointed thinking 'what if'. If Dani had just come through the first day unscathed and not had the injector fault, we could have been challenging for at least a podium and possibly a win.
“Jarkko has also achieved an amazing result on his WRC debut. He has driven with maturity and soaked up all the advice we have given him over the weekend. He clearly has what it takes to become a world class driver and follow in the driving boots of the other great Finnish drivers.
“I'd like to thank all our partners for their support this year, particularly Michelin and BP. Now it's back to Banbury and our development programme. Just last week our race engineers found some significant extra performance in the engine, which we didn't have time to include here, and there is another major mechanical upgrade due in March. It's too early to say what our WRC programme will be for next year, but we aim to be in Monte Carlo in January and carry on where we left off here.”
Sordo meanwhile, who is expected to join either Citroen
and M-Sport for 2013, was also happy with the way the event finished.
“It was really good today and the car was great, but it was disappointing we had rain in the powerstage when the others did not, otherwise we could have won that too. It has been great working with the team this year and I hope something can come together for next year, everyone has worked so hard,” the Spaniard summed-up.