Three-time World Touring Car champion Yvan Muller is to compete in this year's Rally France from October 4-7, it's been confirmed.
Muller will drive the MINI John Cooper Works WRC for the Prodrive WRC Team, having already tested the car in July. Muller has competed in Rally France twice before, in 2010 and 2011.
"I am really looking forward to competing in my home event in a top level world rally car after last year's run in an S2000," said Muller. "I have only had a day to familiarise myself with the MINI, but the balance of the chassis immediately gave me a great deal of confidence."
Prodrive WRC team principal Dave Wilcock said he was looking forward to working with Muller, after the team's experience in 1998-2000 when Muller was one of the major threats during their time in British Touring Car.
"I engineered several cars and we had great battles with Yvan," recalling those days over a decade ago. "This will be the first time we have been on the same side.
"He is a tremendously talented driver with great sympathy for a car and I think the MINI WRC chassis will suit him perfectly for the fast flowing stages in France," Wilcock continued. "He has competed here twice before and once he has settled in for a few stages I can see him setting some impressive times."
As well as winning the BTCC
in 2003 and WTCC
in 2008, 2010 and 2011, Muller is looking on target to secure the current championship to stretch his run at the top to three consecutive years, and he said that the similarities between his Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T WTCC
car and the WRC MINI were likely to work to his advantage.
"As both my Chevrolet touring car and the MINI use similar 1.6 turbo engines, the performance was nearly the same," he said. "I am sure it will take me a little while to get used to driving with pace notes again, even so my target would still be a finish in the points."
Muller finished well outside the points in 2011 and over 50 minutes off race winner Sebastien Ogier
who was driving a Citroen, around the same margin by which he trailed Sebastien Loeb