Sébastien Ogier will return to the World Rally Championship at next month’s Rally New Zealand – his first start since June’s Safari Rally Kenya.
Reigning world champion Ogier has regressed his rallying commitments this season as he concentrates on family life and a new adventure in endurance racing.
But he has kept his foot in the WRC door, driving select rounds in a Toyota shared with new co-driver Benjamin Veillas.
It has been a slightly frustrating season in a rally car for the eight-time world champion though, who almost won the Monte Carlo Rally but for a puncture, went off the road on Rally Portugal and finished fourth in Kenya after another flat.
Rally NZ is one of the few WRC events Ogier has never won – despite nearly doing so in 2010 – so he’s aiming to put that right this year.
“Rally New Zealand was on the top of the list of rallies I wanted to do this year,” said Ogier.
“I have only done this rally once before. The rally itself is very beautiful, your roads are one of the best in the world of rallying and I feel in love with the diverse and beautiful nature of the country.
“It was tough to take back in 2010 because I was chasing my first win,” Ogier added. “It is always a very important step in your career.
“I was lucky that three weeks later I had my first win at Rally Portugal so I did not have to wait too long.
“There is still some unfinished business in New Zealand and so that’s another reason to come back.
“Even if I am not competing full-time, I expect to be competitive and hopefully enjoy more victories in the future.”
The full Rally New Zealand entry list is set to be published on Monday.