Evgeny Novikov will return to the World Rally Championship on Rally Mexico next week.
The 20-year-old, who made his debut in the WRC in 2007 at the Wales Rally GB and who became the youngest ever driver to set a fastest WRC stage time in 2009 when he competed with the Citroen Junior Team in the C4 WRC, has put together a deal to use the new Ford Fiesta RS WRC.
He had planned to start his 2011 campaign in Portugal, but he has now elected to make the trip to North America, where he will run under the M-Sport Stobart Ford World Rally Team banner, alongside Britain's Matt Wilson and nominated points-scorers Mads Ostberg and Henning Solberg.
The Russian's precise WRC programme for 2011 has still to be finalised.
“For obvious reasons, I am not planning to fight for a high result in Mexico and I am not planning to drive to the limit,” Novikov said.
“But it is a wonderful opportunity to try out the new Fiesta RS WRC and I will have a first chance to try the new car at Rally Mexico's shakedown which I consider as an ideal place to get acquainted with the car.
“As for the car itself, I feel that it will be better in handling compared to the cars from the previous generations - the results that the car achieved from Sweden were very impressive.
"The new class is a novelty for everyone and everyone needs some time to adapt and get used to the new cars.
“I have never competed in Mexico, but my co-driver has recommended it to me - fast stages should suit my driving style.”