MINI have confirmed they will leave the World Rally Championship (WRC) as a works team at the end of this season, less than two years after entering the championship.

Though the 2012 season began with a podium for Dani Sordo on the Monte Carlo Rally the manufacturer changed its nominated team for points from the Prodrive run MINI WRC Team to the WRC Team Mini Portugal, with Paulo Nobre and Chris Atkinson representing the brand at the recent Rallye de France.

“MINI will abandon its works involvement in the WRC at the end of the 2012 season,” said Dr. Kay Segler, Senior VP of MINI Business Coordination and Brand Management. “By the end of the season WRC Team MINI Portugal will have competed in every rally in 2012. As such, in accordance with FIA regulations, we will have achieved the WRC homologation for the MINI John Cooper Works. In doing so, we would have achieved the prerequisites to allow those interested to continue to run the car in the WRC on a customer rallying basis.”

“BMW Motorsport will continue to further develop the 1.6-litre turbo engine in conjunction with Prodrive. In a very difficult commercial environment, MINI has played an active role in ensuring that friends of the MINI brand can continue to participate in motorsport. As such, the MINI family is retaining its presence on various international platforms and getting even closer to its customers. We would like to see the MINI John Cooper Works WRC continue to run competitively in WRC and other championships. We would like to thank Prodrive, WRC Team MINI Portugal and our partners for the good cooperation, and wish all drivers, teams and customers a successful future in rallying.”