The new MINI World Rally Team says it isn't worried that Kris Meeke and Dani Sordo won't be up to speed straight away when it joins the WRC later in the year.
MINI has yet to confirm when the new Countryman WRC will make its debut, although rumours have suggested that it may be May before the car appears on stages for the first time.
That would mean Meeke and Sordo wouldn't have been in competitive action for more than six months, although Prodrive's Richard Taylor insists the pair will completed plenty of running prior to the car's debut to keep them up to speed.
The duo could also take part in the recce for events that are scheduled to feature on the WRC calendar in 2012.
“Certainly we're looking at that for events we expect to be in the championship next year,” he told WRC.com
. “It will obviously make sense for the drivers to do those recces so we're looking to put that in place.
“We're going to be doing a fair amount of testing as we run up to the homologation and the launch and that really will keep the drivers busy. We've got two tests coming up in February. Kris has also been doing several days of demonstrations, which gives him plenty of time in the car.”
The team is due to continue its testing programme with sessions in Spain and France next month, with the current focus being on gravel running with the new car.
“We're working primarily on gravel at the moment,” Taylor added. “Obviously we've got Tarmac events coming up later in the year but we'll focus on that much more in the second quarter. But in the first quarter we'll concentrate on the gravel. We're going to be in Spain and France. It's a very busy period.”