The Telstra Rally Australia has attracted a record number of manufacturer-entered cars, resulting in one of its strongest fields ever as the world championship battles hots up down under.

A total of 17 works entries have been accepted for the rally, which runs from its Perth base between 9-12 November.

Manufacturers competing in the FIA World Rally Championship normally enter two cars each for every round of the championship. However, for the penultimate round of the series, one manufacturer - Subaru - has entered four cars; while Hyundai and Ford have entered three apiece.

The Prodrive-run works team will field its recently-signed young proteges, Petter Solberg and Markko Martin - the latter making his factory debut - alongside regulars Richard Burns and Juha Kankkunen, in an attempt to move the Briton back closer to the championship lead.

The rally will have a total of 84 entries, including the world's top drivers and teams as well as privately entered World Rally Cars.

The top five drivers in the Group N Championship - Manfred Stohl, Gustavo Trelles, Gabriel Pozzo, Jani Paasonen and Claudio Menzi - will all be out to beat Australia's young gun, Cody Crocker, and seven-time Telstra Rally Australia production car class winner, Ed Ordynski. Australasian drivers Michael Guest, Possum Bourne, and Neal Bates will also contest the event.

Other names to keep an eye on during the event include former Formula One driver Erik Comas, as well as the female drivers Jackie Dines (Australia) and Natalie Barratt (UK).

With only a handful of points separating the top four drivers in the FIA World Rally Championship, and with only two rallies left in the season, Telstra Rally Australia is likely to decide who will be this year's World Champion Driver and Manufacturer.

Finland's Marcus Gronholm holds a five-point advantage over Britain's Richard Burns, with the Ford pairing of Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz tied for third just a point further back.