This week's Cyprus Rally is likely to provide the toughest challenge of this year, according to the World Rally Championship's leading drivers.
Heavy rain is expected to hit the Mediterranean island tomorrow, making the opening day's six asphalt stages tougher than expected and potentially further damaging the gravel roads which will make up days two and three over the weekend.
Ford's Mikko Hirvonen admitted the final day of this third round of the series will provide a major sting in the tail.
"This is going to be a really tough event," he said. "Yes, probably the toughest of the year. If you want to beat Sebastien [Loeb] you have to be perfect in every corner and, believe me, there are a lot of corners to be perfect on in this rally.
"The concentration and focus has to be absolutely perfect right up until the final corner of the last day - and that 40km stage (SS13 Anadiou) is going to make the last day really tough. Anything can happen."
Citroen's Dani Sordo posted fastest time in this morning's asphalt shakedown stage, but it's his fellow C4 WRC driver Sebastien Loeb who is expected to set the pace on tomorrow's opening day.
Loeb said: "I will go flat out, there's nothing else for me to do. It can be tough if it does rain. We didn't test this tyre (the gravel-specification Pirelli) on wet asphalt, so it will be interesting."
Loeb added that a potential 50th world championship win on this event was not going to distract him from the job in hand. "Sure," said the Frenchman, "it would be a nice gap, but this is just another rally for me."
Today's weather around the event's Limassol base was 20 degrees and cloudy, but that is expected to dive with the onset of rain tomorrow.
While service remains at sea level near the port, the stages take the driver high into the Troodos mountains, where temperatures dived as low as one degree on the recce.
Hirvonen - and his Ford Focus RS WRC 08 - sported a comic relief red nose for the day's shakedown test and press conference.