World Rally Championship title contender Mikko Hirvonen will prepare for the crucial Rally of Great Britain by running in the Cambrian Rally on the 17th October.

By driving the safety car.

“Although Mikko won’t actually be entered on the rally, his role as safety car means he will drive at competitive speeds so it’s a great and unexpected opportunity for fans to see the Ford team in action,” said Malcolm Wilson the team director of the Ford WRC squad. “The Cambrian Rally will be the ideal way for Mikko and Jarmo [Lehtinen, co-driver] to focus on the [Rally of Great Britain].”

Around 150 competitive entrants are expected the Cambrian Rally which is based in North Wales resort of Llandudno and includes over 70km of timed stages through the Clocaenog and Penmachno Forests, including roads once used in Britain's WRC round.

Hirvonen himself won the rally in 2002 as a privateer.

“After three days competing on the asphalt roads of Rally de España last weekend, it’s important for me to regain a good feel on gravel,” said Hirvonen.  “Driving on the Cambrian Rally in a competitive environment will improve my familiarity with the nature of the Welsh forests.  It will be the perfect way to ready myself for what should be a thrilling final round of the WRC.”

That final round is the Rally of Great Britain, starting on 22nd October.

Hirvonen holds a one point lead over five time champion Sebastien Loeb ahead of the event, which is based around the Welsh capital, Cardiff, and comprises of nearly 350km of stages sprawling though south and mid-Wales.