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Fiesta WRC set for Arctic Rally debut

Ford Fiesta WRCFord's Fiesta RS WRC is expected to make its competitive debut on the Arctic Rally in Finland at the end of this month, AUTOSPORT can reveal.

The all-new Fiesta will be seen in competition in the World Rally Championship opening Rally of Sweden next month, but the British team is keen to run the car under competitive conditions before arriving at round one.

The Arctic Rally, which runs on January 28-29, is regularly used as a traditional Sweden shakedown - Kimi Raikkonen made his debut in a Citroen C4 WRC there last year, with then Citroen factory driver Dani Sordo also competing on the event.

Citroen will not compete on the Arctic Circle roads this season, preferring to do its snow testing in private in Sweden in four weeks time.

Ford drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala are expected to share the driving on the event, each taking a day on the Finnish Rally Championship opener. Both days include five stages, but Friday's competition totals 44 miles, while Saturday is double that.

Hirvonen said: "It would probably be a good idea for the team to do an event like that. It's not so much from a testing perspective, but just for us all to run in a rally and see how everything works with the new car on a rally.

"I have done the Arctic twice before, the last time in 2002, the roads are very good and obviously there's always lots of snow there."

Ford launched its 2011-liveried Fiesta RS WRC at AUTOSPORT International on Thursday.

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