BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team driver Jari-Matti Latvala will pilot Ken Block's Monster World Rally Team Ford Focus RS WRC car at this year's tenth anniversary Rallyday Show, at Wiltshire's Castle Combe Circuit on Saturday 18 September, it has been confirmed.
It will be the Finn's first outing at the event: "The opportunity to drive the Ford Focus RS WRC on asphalt at Castle Combe is something I am looking forward to, away from the pressures of competition," Latvala said.
"I hope I can put on a really good show for the fans, with lots of sideways action and I'm sure the event will be as big a success as it has been in previous years."
Rallyday organisers, Brian Stubbings and Darin Frow are both delighted the 25-year-old has agreed to attend the UK's premier rally car show and drive the M-Sport-built car, which Block competed in recently in Germany.
"It is brilliant for us to welcome Jari-Matti to the show, driving the same Ford Focus RS WRC car driven in the World Rally Championship by Ken Block," Stubbings said. "Block took the award for 'Most Thrilling Driver' at the Goodwood Festival of Speed back in July and I'm sure Jari-Matti will be equally thrilling in front of the Rallyday crowds in a few weeks!"
Latvala is one of a number of rally celebrities already confirmed for the event, with 1984 World Rally champion Stig Blomqvist also returning to mark the 30th anniversary of the Audi quattro.
As part of this celebration, a comprehensive line-up of original works Audi quattros will be in the centre of the Rallyday paddock, covering their evolution through the 1980s and Blomqvist will be back behind the wheel to bring back some nostalgic memories of this amazing era of the sport.
In addition, Rallyday will welcome a new manufacturer to the event, as Skoda UK announced recently that two-time British Rally champion, Guy Wilks will drive the new Skoda Fabia S2000 Facelift, which the Englishman got his first taste of last weekend on the Barum Czech Rally Zlin, the latest round in the 2010 FIA Intercontinental Rally Challenge.
"Rallyday at Castle Combe is a really good event, with a fantastic atmosphere. There is always a great collection of rally cars, both modern and from a bygone era, and the access people have to the cars and drivers is second to none. I really love driving at Rallyday," said Wilks. "Although Castle Combe is a race circuit, it's a great opportunity to put on a show for the large crowd of spectators - especially as there are so many of them!"
1977 and 1985 British Rally champion, Russell Brookes, his co-drivers, Mike Broad, John Brown, Paul White, Neil Wilson and Peter Bryant and original sponsor John Andrews will all be there too as part of a special Andrews Heat for Hire Celebration. Spectators will be able to view the range of iconic rally cars which Brookes used over his successful long-term campaign.
"This year's Rallyday is special for me," said Brookes. "The 70s and 80s were the most exciting years for British rallying and throughout this period, I had a unique partnership with Andrews Heat for Hire, who sponsored me for 17 of those years.
"Their bright yellow livery epitomised this exciting era and Rallyday is bringing together over a dozen original rally cars - from Mk2 Ford Escorts, through Chevettes, Sunbeam Lotus, Opel Mantas and the 400bhp Sierra Cosworths among others. Many of co-drivers of the cars will be joining us on the stand of what will be a unique display, one which is unlikely ever to be repeated. See you there."
1996 British Rally Championship winner Gwyndaf Evans and three-times Fiesta SportTrophy championship winner Elfyn Evans will also be at the show, with a display from Gwyndaf Evans Motors. The display will feature several rally cars Gwyndaf has campaigned, including a Seat F2 and Sierra Cosworth - plus Elfyn's latest Fiesta R2, along with new cars from the family-run Ford and Suzuki dealership.
Several other stars have already signed up as well, including Phil Mills, Petter Solberg's co-pilot until June this year; Nicky Grist, who co-drove for the late Colin McRae and, of course, Rallyday host extraordinaire, 1972 RAC winning co-driver (with Roger Clark) and former Top Gear
presenter Tony Mason.
The action doesn't stop there either, with Russ Swift returning to entertain the crowds with his spectacular precision driving display, as well as the Strictly Sideways Competition and a special Rallycross demonstration - including competitors from the very competitive one-make Suzuki Swift class and the RX150 buggies.
The Richard Burns Foundation is back in force, too, and will display six of the original works cars which span the career of the late 2001 World Rally champion. McRae Vision will also have a presence, with fans getting the chance to see the 1995 World Rally champions' original Ford Sierra Cosworth and the McRae R4. There will be an opportunity to participate in the latest Colin McRae Dirt game and to buy a range of McRae merchandise as well.
"We've pulled out all the stops this year and are delighted with the incredible line up of cars and stars coming to help us celebrate Rallyday's tenth anniversary," Frow concluded. "We also hope to make more exciting announcements very, very soon."
Spectator tickets for Rallyday 2010 cost £20 per adult on the gate. Accompanied children under 16 can enter for FREE.
For more information, please visit www.rallyday.com