Dani Sordo admits he is excited by the challenge of helping to spearhead MINI's assault on the World Rally Championship this season.

The former Citroen driver joins Kris Meeke in the MINI line-up for the new season as the team prepares to debut the new Countryman WRC on selected events this year ahead of a full championship assault in 2012.

Having had the chance to sample the car during testing, Sordo said he felt comfortable behind the wheel although he admits there is still room for improvement with the new machine.

"I have driven the car less than Kris but I have been on both tarmac and gravel," he said. "Honestly the feel of the car was really good. We still need to improve in certain areas, but this is normal because the car is new.

"Our MINI is new to rallying but in Prodrive we have a lot of experience and they have achieved many things in the sport. Kris and I will try to do the best we can. At the moment the car is really good and getting better and better."

The Countryman WRC, which is currently heading to Spain for more testing, will be officially launched in an event at the BMW plant in Oxford where the MINI is produced on 13 April.