Mini and Prodrive will announce a World Rally Championship programme this week, according to a report.

The new car will be based on the Mini Countryman and is being prepared at Prodrive's Banbury base, a report by Autosport claimed.

Read Autocar's Mini Countryman first drive

The report says the car is not expected to compete in any of the first four rounds of the 2011 World Rally Championship, however. Instead the car will be launched just ahead of the Rally Italy in May.

Prodrive has remained tight-lipped about any announcement this week, denying that it has anything planned with Mini, but has previously said it will be back in the WRC next season.

David Lapworth, Prodrive’s technical director, told Autosport about the progress of its WRC 2011 programme: “When we start testing on our rally car development programme, it will be intensive. We still have a good timescale to work towards for testing and we're happy with where we're at.”

See all the latest Mini Countryman reviews, news and video