Rossi, then driving a Michelin backed Peugeot, had posted the 25th fastest time during a short opening stage in Cardiff, but was caught out by the slippery Welsh forests early the next morning - in what was the first real stage of the rally - when his 206 slowly slid off the road on a tight left hand turn, forcing a frustrating retirement.

It took four years before Rossi returned to the World Rally Championship, in the penultimate round of the 2006 season, but the New Zealand outing was much more promising as The Doctor steered a Subaru Impreza from 24th, to 13th and then 11th over the three days, setting a best stage time of seventh in the process.

The Subaru World Rally Team has now confirmed to Crash.net that they are working hard to put the seven times world champion back in an Impreza for Rally GB.

"We have kept in contact with Valentino and his management since Rally New Zealand last year and would very much like to see him back in a Subaru for Rally GB. Although nothing is fixed as yet, we are all working hard to try and make it happen," said a team spokesperson.

Depending on Yamaha's winter test schedule, a Rally GB outing shouldn't clash with Rossi's MotoGP commitments - the racing season ends on November 4, while the Welsh-based final round of the WRC championship runs from November 30 to December 2.

Rossi's factory Yamaha team is backed by Fiat.