The Subaru World Rally Team announced today that 32-year old Finn Kaj Lindstr?m will substitute for Risto Mannisenmaki as Tommi Makinen's co-driver for the first two events of the 2002 WRC season.

The swap will allow Mannisenmaki to continue the excellent recovery he is making after an accident in October's Tour de Corse. It is hoped that Mannisenmaki will be back in the car with Makinen for the third round of the 2002 season - the Tour de Corse, which starts on the 8th March.

On the 21st October this year Mannisenmaki had surgery in France to repair a broken vertebra sustained in the accident. He was later moved back home to Finland where he has received physiotherapy treatment to help his recovery.

Mannisenmaki said: "It's been almost 2 months since the accident and my recovery is going well. I'm back at home and lead a pretty normal life. The vertebrae that was broken is healing fine, but I also damaged some of the nerves in my back and these will take a little longer to get back to 100%. So I must take regular simple exercise like walking and swimming to help build up the muscle strength, I'm seeing the physiotherapist twice or three times a week now and getting plenty of rest. I will be in Monte Carlo - but not with Tommi in the Subaru just yet, instead I'll be in service helping the team in some other way - probably giving advice on stage conditions. It's a shame because I feel OK, but the doctors have told me to rest and take it easy so that is what I will do - my target is to be back in the car with Tommi for Corsica."

Subaru World Rally Team Sporting Director George Donaldson said: "I spoke to Risto the day after the accident and before his operation and at that time neither of us had an idea what the future would bring. But speaking to him now, it's just like business as usual and he's anxious to get back in a rally car. But you can't rush the recovery process so Risto will be helping Tommi and the team in other ways until he's fit enough for the co-driver's seat. His temporary replacement, Kaj, is a very capable co-driver and I'm sure that he will do his best for Tommi and Subaru in Monte Carlo and Sweden."

Lindstr?m, who won the British Rally Championship with Tapio Laukkanen in 1999, drove with Tommi for the first time on this year's Rally of Great Britain. He said: "It was quite easy for me to get into the notes system that Tommi uses. It is a detailed one though, he notes 15 different types of corner for instance, but we made some good progress on the Rally of Great Britain. It's a great opportunity for me to drive with him again - I'm looking forward to getting some testing done in the second week in January."