Kris Meeke will not contest the Monte Carlo Rally next month, following Mini's decision to only run one of its two factory drivers on every 2012 round of the World Rally Championship.
A source in Germany confirmed the news, saying: "[Dani] Sordo will do every rally, but Kris Meeke won't. He will still test for the team, but he misses Monte Carlo. The second car will be driven by local drivers."
French Federation-backed driver Pierre Campana will partner Sordo in Monte Carlo.
The organizers of the Monte Carlo Rally have confirmed that a third possible entry was sought by Mini - which would have been taken by Meeke, had sufficient sponsorship been found. Unfortunately, Mini was unable to find the funds in time. The Northern Irishman will now be confined to what is essentially a third car when and where the money can be found to run it.
Prodrive, the team which runs Mini's World Rally Championship program, declined to comment on its 2012 plans. Sources close to Prodrive have confirmed a determination to keep Meeke's 2012 season hopes alive.
"Kris is part of the team and an exceptional driver," said the source. "We want to see him in the Mini on every round possible next year."
Sordo has scored two podiums in the Mini John Cooper works WRC's debut season, but it is Meeke who has the longer contract with parent company BMW. The former IRC champion's agreement with BMW/Mini runs until the end of 2013, while Sordo's is up at the end of 2012. Official confirmation from Munich is expected in the coming days.