Britain's Guy Wilks will make his first appearance in this year's FIA World Rally Championship this week, when he starts the Neste Oil Rally Finland, the ninth round in the series.
Wilks, who has recently competed in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in Russia and in the British Rally Championship on the Isle of Man, will be back behind the wheel of his JAS Motorsport-run Honda Civic Type R R3 car for the 'Rally of a 1000 Lakes'.
The 2007 Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally champion recently conducted a successful test on a variety of roads in Finland, racking up 300 kilometres will no problem at all.
"It was a busy schedule but we did a lot of useful set-up work and underlined the basic reliability of the car," said Wilks, who led his class commandingly during both his previous outings with the Civic, in Australia and Russia.
"I think the nature of the roads should suit the car very well and we're aiming for a solid finish with a good result as well. The Mugen prepared Honda engine in particular is extremely strong, which is absolutely vital on a quick rally like this one."
The Englishman counts the Finnish rally as one of his favourite events, having claimed his first podium in the Junior World Rally Championship on the fast roads around the rally's base in Jyvaskyla. Last year, he only just missed out on scoring World Championship points in Finland, and he won the Junior Championship class there in 2006.
"I definitely feel an affinity with the roads," added the 27 year-old. "Maybe it comes from my background of riding motocross bikes. Of course the speeds are much slower, but you do get an idea of how to jump the bike and the correct lines to take. I've got a good bit of experience of Finland now, having contested it five times previously, so I think we've got every right to be optimistic."
Wilks, who will again be partnered by David Moynihan, as regular co-pilot Phil Pugh is suffering from back problems, is hoping to replicate the success enjoyed by many Civic Type R R3 customers all over the world.
Indeed during the last few months Marcel Piepers has claimed several class wins in Holland, as has also been the case for Levai Ferenc in Hungary. Danish driver Martin Knudsen has just joined the winners' circle in France, and another class win has been racked up by Rajoel Mamisoa in Reunion Island, to name but a few.
"As has been seen in several national championships the Civic Type R R3 has proven to be reliable and competitive," summed-up JAS Motorsport team boss, Alessandro Mariani. "Our customers are very happy with their performances and successes.
"With Guy we've had a little bit of bad luck this year and so the whole team has been working very hard for improving the reliability and we've got through a very intense test programme in order to be ready for the such difficult challenge in Finland."