Prospects for the new Mini WRC Team have been raised considerably by the announcement today that Spanish driver Daniel “Dani” Sordo will join them in the 2011 FIA World Rally Championship.
Leaving the world champion Citroën team, he will join Kris Meeke (GB), who was announced as a driver last year.
“There has been a great deal of excitement surrounding Mini’s return to the WRC, so to be part of this new team is a fantastic opportunity for me,” said the 27 year-old Sordo. “I’m sure Mini has a big future in the sport. I’m looking forward to working with Kris Meeke, having completed a very successful test with him in Sardinia last November.” “Although only 27, Dani is already one of the more experienced drivers in the WRC, competing at the very highest level for the last five years,” said David Richards, Chairman of Prodrive, the company that will be running the Mini team.
Dani is an experienced and successful WRC contender, having participated in the championship since 2003, driving in the same team as Sébastien Loeb for several seasons.
He is a former Junior World Rally Champion, and to date has secured an impressive 29 podium finishes and 102 stage wins in the WRC, although an outright win has so far eluded him.
Sordo began his career in motocross when he was 12 years old, also achieving success in hillclimbing, karting and touring cars. He first drove in a WRC event at the Rally Catalunya in 2003 in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII, finishing 18th overall. He won the Spanish Junior Rally Championship that year and retained the title in 2004, while gaining further international experience at WRC rounds in Argentina, France and Spain.
After clinching the Junior World Rally Championship title in 2005, Sordo joined the Kronos Total Citroën World Rally Team in 2006, where he was first paired with Loeb. Sordo finished the 2006 season with four podium places, 49 points and fifth overall in the Drivers’ Championship. He has driven for the Citroën Total World Rally Team since 2007, and while in the WRC has achieved a total of 17 second place finishes, taking the third step of the podium 12 times.
In 2007, Sordo finished fourth in the WRC Drivers’ Championship, was placed third in the standings in 2008 and 2009 and finished the 2010 season fifth overall. In 2011, the Mini WRC Team will enter at least six WRC events to give Sordo and co-driver Diego Vallejo the chance to work closely with the UK-based Prodrive outfit responsible for preparing the MINI WRC.