Jenson Button may have been barred from taking part, but Mitsubishi rally driver Tommi Makinen will head for some island sun next month, as he contests the Michelin Race of Champions.

The Finn, prevented from landing a record fifth successive world crown this year by the emergence of compatriot Marcus Gronholm, will form part of a three man team for the event, which takes place in the Canary Islands between 8-10 December. Makinen has pledged to defend the Nations' Cup title he won along with countrymen JJ Lehto and Kari Tianien in 1999, as the Race of Champions again incorporates a multi-discipline event featuring stars from rallying, circuit racing and the bike world.

The all-star competition will run alongside the more traditional Race of Champions centrepiece, which sees the top names in rallying attempt to outwit each other over a 2.6km superspecial course in a variety of machinery. Last year, Makinen came off second best in the final, which was won by SEAT star Didier Auriol.

"After last year, I am very much looking forward to returning to the Canary Islands," Makinen said, before tackling the Rally of Great Britain, "The Race of Champions is a great end of season event, and I am keen to go one better this time - and win. I am also particularly looking forward to competing again for the Finnish team in the Nations' Cup - and I hope we can retain our victory."

The Nations' Cup part of the event will feature eight instead of the usual six teams in 2000, with Japan being invited to take part for the first time.

It had been hoped that Button, the F1 rookie, would be included in Britain's team for the event, but the Williams operation decided that his involvement could be a risk, and prevented him from entering.