Tommi Makinen's new co-driver for Rally Australia will be Timo Hantunen. Hantunen steps in while regular co-driver Risto Mannisenmaki recovers following a back injury inflicted when the Mitsubishi crashed in the Tour de Corse.

Hantunen is one of Finland's most experienced men in motorsport, the 51 year old having contested 934 events, winning no fewer than 120 as a driver and co-driver.

Hantunen's affinity with motorsport is evident from a long list of disciplines in which he has competed, including motocross and enduro, where he has won 53 events, circuit racing, ice-racing, rallysprints, 125cc and 250cc karting. He has also competed on snowscooters and powerboats.

"We used to compete in at least two events each weekend!" says Timo. "We'd do enduro on a Saturday and a motocross on the Sunday, and it was the same with the rallies."

Hantunen will be no stranger alongside Tommi Makinen, the Finns having competed together in the 1989 FIA World Rally Championship. He also navigated Juha Kankkunen in the late seventies and early eighties, and has partnered Sebastian Lindholm. With his wealth of expertise currently directed towards Finland's young driver training programme, the Jyvaskyla-based Finn is looking forward to returning to the FIA World Rally Championship as it reaches a nail-biting climax.