Abarth factory driver Anton Alen, the son of Finnish rally legend Markku Alen, has enjoyed a successful shakedown test prior to the start of Rally Finland, which gets underway this evening.

The ninth round of the World Rally Championship - which is only Alen's seventh WRC event - begins with a spectator superspecial stage around the famous Killeri trotting track at 19.00 hours local time.

Alen previously completed around 150 kilometres of testing on Monday, when his Abarth Grande Punto S2000 arrived in Finland from Italy.

Yesterday he undertook a final 10-kilometre shakedown test in order to finalise the settings on his car before the start.

The 26-year-old's last WRC outing was on the Rally Finland in 2007, when he convincingly led the Group N category in his Grande Punto before being forced into retirement with an engine problem. Alen won Group N in Finland the previous year, 2006, at the wheel of a Subaru Impreza.

There is extra focus on Alen this year as his team-mate for the event is none other than 2007 F1 World champion and fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen, who also tested with Alen on Monday.

"So far, everything has gone really well," said Alen, who has been contesting the Intercontinental Rally Challenge with Abarth this year. "We changed a few things during the test on the Monday, which was really useful, and now we have got a really good set-up I think.

"We had no problems at all with the car, so the shakedown this morning was just to check that everything was working properly, which luckily it was."

Nonetheless, Alen and his co-driver Timo Alanne are under no illusions as to the extent of the task that they face this weekend over the 23 stages and 345.15 competitive kilometres.

"We've got some very strong rivals, including Kimi of course, so the only solution to do well in Finland is to go flat-out from the very beginning," Alen continued. "We had a good recce and I remember some parts of the stages, so there is no reason to hold back.

"Our car is not the newest of the Super 2000 cars, so we definitely need to push. To get the best of the car on these stages you have to go for it."

Meanwhile Markku Alen, a six-time winner of the Rally Finland at the wheel of Fiat and Lancia cars, has predicted that there will be a big battle for honours.

"The Rally Finland - or the 1000 Lakes as I still call it - has changed a lot since my day, but the same challenge remains," he added. "You need to have really accurate pace notes and the bravery to commit to them. I am sure it will be a great fight."