Francois Delecour will start Rallye de France next week, his home round of the World Rally Championship, at the wheel of the Tuthill Porsche 911 RGT.

The 911 GT3-based rally car stole the hearts of the rally-watching public on last month's Rallye Deutschland and focused the minds of many looking for a cost-effective alternative to a World Rally Car. Driven in Trier by Tuthill Porsche team principal Richard Tuthill, the car finished its WRC debut first in the RGT class and 27th overall. It was also showcased last weekend at Rallyday in the UK, where it was driven by Markko Martin and Harri Toivonen. Tuthill will now hand the wheel over to Delecour.

Delecour - a four-time WRC winner - will test the Tuthill Porsche 911 RGT for the first time on Monday, potentially having sealed his third consecutive Romanian Rally Championship title on the previous day.

Next week's Strasbourg-based WRC qualifier will be Delecour's second WRC outing of the season. He competed on Rallye Monte Carlo, but was forced to retire his Ford Fiesta RS WRC from the opening round of the year.

"I am so excited," said the 52-year-old. "This is such great news and I have so much enthusiasm to drive this car. This is my dream, my dream to drive a Porsche in the World Rally Championship. It is more than fantastic."

"I know the Tuthill Porsche team, I drove with them before and I know they prepare the perfect car. Last time, they painted my car blue for France - I love this team! And I love the 911 RGT. The noise, everything about this car is a rally car," he added.

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"I can't wait to test. First, I have to try to win the [Romanian Rally] Championship for the third time, but I only need one point. Hopefully, I arrive in France to drive the Porsche for the first time with this title."

Since Rallye Deutschland, Tuthill Porsche has worked closely with the FIA on further evaluation and evolution of the RGT regulations. The only change in specification to the 911 RGT is in the air-intake restrictor, which has been increased from 36 to 39mm and means the rear-wheel drive car now has around 350bhp (a rise of around 25bhp).

"Francois is the perfect driver for this car - he's so full of character and enthusiasm. And, let's not forget, he's one of the finest drivers ever to come out of France," added Tuthill.

"There's no doubt we're going to see an improvement on the pace from Germany... the driver is certainly a lot better and I think the car will suit the roads a bit more as well.

"I'd like to see us looking for the minimum of a top 20 and hopefully top 15. But so much of that does depend on the weather, we have to hope it stays dry."