Rossi, who is driving a Stobart-backed Ford Focus WRC car in the event, finished 17th fastest during today's shakedown test.

The #46 (pictured with his Fiat Yamaha team manager Davide Brivio) retired from the 2002 Rally GB, but finished eleventh in the 2006 Rally of New Zealand.

The 2008 edition of Wales Rally GB begins on Friday morning...

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Q:
Valentino, welcome back to the WRC. The last time we saw you in rally action was New Zealand in 2006, it has been a while! How much are you looking forward to this weekend?

Valentino Rossi:
I am so happy to be here because it is a great rally and first of all I have to thank Ford and Stobart for this opportunity. I drove the car in the forest also with Matthew [Wilson] two weeks ago and it was good and I now have more experience with the car. I will try and get to the end this time and to get more experience.

Q:
How did the recce go? Have you ever competed in conditions like we have here?

VR:
The stages are beautiful - a lot better that in 2002. They are flowing and the corners are faster and wider. For sure the weather conditions, especially with the one tyre rule, will give us a lot of problems with the ice and snow. I will have to go slower and try to control the car better.

Q:
You finished just outside the top ten in New Zealand but the last time you competed here it was an early retirement for you. What are you hoping for here?

VR:
In 2002 here I made a mistake in the second stage but in New Zealand I was clever and started slower and was able to make some good times towards the end and I think I will be like this. I will learn the feeling in the car and hope that the good times will start to come stage by stage.

Q:
How passionate are you about rallying? Could we see you in the WRC full time?

VR:
I have a great passion for it, because after my father had finished racing bikes he started with rallying. I started my career with go-karts before I went for bikes, but the passion remains very high for cars. I have had more experience on this car and realise that to understand the car is very important. I am used to racing on the track where you can get used to getting the perfect line, but here it is different. You have to listen to the co-driver and it is so important to get the right notes in the recce, so I think this is the hardest part of this sport - it's harder than racing a bike on a track. I have just signed for Yamaha for another two seasons, but after that we will see. I am in a good moment in my career right now so after two years I will decide. Maybe it is possible in the future but I am not sure at my level it will be possible.

Q:
I remember when you competed here in 2002 the only thing you didn't really like was the alarm clock going off so early in the morning! We have some really early starts here this time around, are you prepared for that?

VR:
It is like being back at school! I like to sleep a little bit more but I know this is a difficult week for me with a lot of early morning stages - but I am ready.

Q:
How crucial is getting a result in this event when you haven't done many rallies this season? Which is the rally you would most like to do?

VR:
I would really like to do a tarmac rally - like Corsica perhaps. For me now it is impossible because it is in the middle of my racing season. I have a lot less pressure to get a result here so I have a little advantage, but it is not important to win, it is more important to learn the car and get more experience in order to remain at this level.