Thierry Neuville says he is excited about the opportunity to give M-Sport's new Ford Fiesta R5 its first competitive outing this weekend in Belgium.

Fresh from his impressive second place finish in Sardinia, Neuville will run as a VIP car on the latest round of the FIA European Rally Championship as he gives the new R5 model its public debut.

Neuville has already completed a pre-event test on the sealed-surface roads around Ypres and insisted he now couldn't wait to show the potential of the car over the course of the event.

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"This is a great opportunity for me to really show what the [Ford Fiesta] R5 is capable of," he said. "Of course we need to show the reliability of the car, but we also need to show how competitive it is - but, honestly, I don't think that will be too much of a problem! We tested the car yesterday and it feels great - it's quick, but the brakes are also really responsive which is great for an event like Ypres.

"It would have been nice to go for the win this weekend, but we are running as a course car so unfortunately that won't be possible. But it will still be a lot of fun to demonstrate this new car in front of the home fans. I've done a lot of work on developing cars in the past and I know what is expected of me. We need to give our feedback so that the team can improve the car even further.

"I am really looking forward to the event. The atmosphere in Ypres is amazing and it's very nice to be back rallying at 'home.' To be here with a new, never before seen car just makes it all the more exciting."

The R5 will be the latest rally model produced by Ford and M-Sport, with 18 deposits having been placed already ahead by customers.