MotoGP superstar Valentino Rossi has confirmed that he will use a Ford Focus RS WRC car on December's season ending Wales Rally GB.
The Italian, who won the MotoGP title for the sixth time this year, was forced to abandon a planned Rally GB return one year ago in order to undertake a test session with new tyre supplier Bridgestone.
This season though he has managed to fit the event in around his busy programme with Fiat Yamaha - although he concedes that it is going to be quite hectic over the next month or so, with the final MotoGP event of '08 this weekend in Valencia, followed by tests on Monday and Tuesday and more possibly in November, prior to the MotoGP test ban, which runs from December 1 to January 15.
"During the winter I will do, for sure, the RAC Rally in England on the weekend of December 7," he said on Thursday. "I will race with Ford. I also have some tests on the gravel with the WRC, so I have a tight schedule until December."
His outing in Wales will be his third in the World Rally Championship, and while his first with a Michelin-backed Peugeot 206 WRC on the 2002 Rally GB didn't go well - he crashed out just 17 kilometres in, a run in New Zealand four years later was much more successful.
Indeed the seven-time world champion steered a Subaru Impreza WRC from 24th, to 13th and then 11th over the three days, setting a best stage time of seventh in the process.
"I love to race with the rally car. It is one of my great passions. Unfortunately for me the only time during the year [when I can take part] is November and December. But I am always quite excited because I always have fun with the car and there is less pressure than when I ride the motorcycle. I'll take a rest in December," he added.
Rossi meanwhile will warm-up for the Wales Rally GB by doing the tarmac-based Monza Rally in November, an event incidentally that he won last year in a Pirelli-shod Ford Focus.