The double Production Car world champion from Portugal will pilot a Motorsport Italia-run MINI on the Trier-based event, which runs from 18-21 August. It will mark the first appearance on asphalt for the Prodrive-developed challengers.
“It’s the first year for the car so I don’t know what can happen in Germany,” said Araujo. “We will test one day before and we will see. But I am optimistic because we won there in Group N last year and I like the rally a lot. For sure we will try.”
Araujo is three events into his seven-round programme with MINI. A broken engine manifold hampered his last outing on Neste Oil Rally Finland, where he was competing for the first time.
“We lost a lot of power from this on Saturday,” said Araujo. “But we were in Finland to learn and to prepare for the future. The car is improving all of the time and the more races you do the more you find the speed.”
Araujo will hope to benefit from the significant testing carried out by factory MINI drivers Kris Meeke and Dani Sordo in Germany recently. The works team will also contest the all-asphalt Richard Burns Memorial Rally in the United Kingdom this weekend with Meeke and Sordo sharing a John Cooper Works WRC on a non-competitive basis.
However, Prodrive head David Richards hinted that the car’s ultimate performance in Germany could be masked slightly by a lack of engine power.
“That’s the one area where we need to continue development work on,” said Richards. “But everything else around the car we’re very comfortable with. Germany will present further challenges and another step in the learning curve for our new team.”