Citroen, Ford Excited with MINI's Return to WRC
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Late last month, BMW confirmed via a press release that MINI will partner with David Richards' Prodrive for a partial programme in the 2011 WRC with the Countryman. The plan is to prepare a full-time campaign in 2012.
“It’s really good news for WRC first of all and now I’m really sure the worst is behind us because we can think that other manufacturers will come in the future. For Citroen to have MINI, especially because we will have the DS3, is the best news we can have. We are very pleased,” argued Citroen's motorsport boss Olivier Quesnel, according to WRC.com.
Citroen will switch from their current C4 WRC to the new DS3 WRC for the 2011 season of the WRC, due to the new 1.6 litre turbocharged regulations imposed by the FIA. Meaning the DS3 and the Countryman will not only battle in the compact premium segment of the market, but also in the WRC.
The situation doesn't apply to Ford, whose new car for the 2011 campaign will be the Fiesta WRC. However, team boss Malcolm Wilson admitted his enthusiasm over MINI's comeback, as it could open the door for several other manufacturers joining the WRC in the future.
“It sends out a great message for the WRC that we’ve got another important manufacturer coming into the championship, which is something we’ve all been hoping would happen. It can only be a benefit to the championship and I hope MINI coming in has the desired effect,” said Wilson.
Other manufacturers that have been linked with a potential return to the WRC in the near future – with the change in technical regulations and all – are Skoda, Peugeot and even Toyota, but no further information on such a prospect have surfaced in the media in recent months.
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