Two-time P-WRC champion Armindo Araujo will drive a MINI in eight rounds of the World Rally Championship in 2011, it was confirmed this week.
The Portuguese driver will open his campaign in Portugal at the end of March at the wheel of a Super 2000 specification MINI Countryman run by Motorsport Italia with the full support of Prodrive. He will then move to a full WRC specification MINI later in the year.
Araujo will test the latest specification of MINI WRC with works team drivers, Kris Meeke and Dani Sordo, at the next gravel test in southern France this weekend.
“We have been talking to Armindo about a drive in the MINI for some time and it is great news that he has now confirmed his programme,” said Graham Prew, Prodrive motorsport sales manager.
“He has proved just how fast he is in the PWRC with two consecutive titles. Now in the new MINI, he will be able to pitch himself directly against the best rally drivers in the world.”
“It's an honour to enter into the WRC with a brand with such a long history in rallies as MINI,” Araujo added. “I will be with a private team but will have the same support as the factory drivers and also all the guarantees I need to grow. It will also count in my favour that I will help develop the car that I believe has all the possibilities to become a winner in the WRC.
“During the first year we won't start thinking about fighting for victories, but we will work to ensure we can progress to that goal in the near future.
“This is the most ambitious project of my entire career and is without a doubt a dream come true.”