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Prodrive missing from Monte entry
30 December 2012
Prodrive insists it will return to action in the World Rally Championship despite being missing from the entry for the 2013 season opener in Monte Carlo.
The team had hoped to run on the opening event of the new campaign but has instead elected to switch focus towards putting a programme in place from Rally Sweden onwards.
As things stand, the team is still working to find a driver - or drivers - to replace Dani Sordo after he returned to Citroen as partner to Mikko Hirvonen.
“We're reasonably optimistic we'll get to Sweden and we're positive the car will be capable of setting good times,” Prodrive's Richard Taylor told the official WRC website. “When a car works well on Tarmac generally you'll find it works well everywhere, particularly given the upgrades we've made that have addressed some of the issues we had in Sweden last year.
“Whatever we do has to stack up commercially. There's no financial support from MINI but some of the drivers we are talking to have their own funding and we are also in discussion with commercial partners to do a reasonable number of rallies with a car capable of winning.”
Despite Prodrive being missing from the event, a total of 13 WRC cars are set to contest the first round of the year, headed by defending champion Sebastien Loeb in the first of his four outings in 2013.
The Frenchman will score manufacturer points for Citroen alongside Mikko Hirvonen, with Dani Sordo entered in a third car under the Abu Dhabi Citroen Total WRT banner.
Mads Ostberg and Evgeny Novikov are set to score for the Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team, with Volkswagen giving the new Polo WRC its debut in the hands of Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala.
Elsewhere, Juho Hanninen and Thierry Neuville will run under the Qatar World Rally Team banner in their Fiesta RS WRCs, with Michal Kosciuszko entered by Lotos Team WRC in a MINI John Cooper Works.
The Fiestas of Martin Prokop and Julien Maurin round out the WRC entry alongside Bryan Bouffier's Citroen DS3.
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