Prodrive boss David Richards has revealed that he is to stand down as team principal of the MINI World Rally Team for the 2012 season.

Richards will be replaced by technical director Dave Wilcock, who will take on both roles during the season with support from team manager Campbell Roy.

Richards will still attend selected events during the course of 2012.

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"It was always my intention to take a step back in the team's second season and pass the responsibility over to Dave," Richards said. "During the last year he has proved he has all the right skills to lead the team and I have no doubt the MINI WRC Team will continue to go from strength to strength under his leadership."

Wilcock himself said he was hopeful that his first event in charge - where MINI will field cars for Dani Sordo and Pierre Campana - would be successful.

"It would be incredible to go to the Monte Carlo Rally for the first time in more than 40 years and replicate the feats of the original Mini Coopers in the 1960s. However we have to be realistic about this event, where tyre choice on some part snow covered stages can be a lottery. Still, much of the route is new for everyone and we have proved in 2011 just how competitive the MINI John Cooper Works WRC is. I know Dani is eager to get back behind the wheel, while Pierre is keen to impress his local fans."