Renault Formula 1 star Robert Kubica will tackle the Monte Carlo Rally at the wheel of a Renault Clio R3 later this month
The Polish driver has already contested two rallies with Renault since he departed the BMW F1 team at the end of last season, but the opening round of this year's Intercontinental Rally Challenge will be by far his biggest challenge yet.
His entry has been received by the Automobile Club de Monaco, which closed entries for the French Alps event yesterday.
Kubica's last event, the Rallye du Var, will give him some idea of what is to come on the Monte Carlo, as the French Championship round runs through similar terrain to the Monte, which gets underway from Valence on Tuesday January 19. The grand prix winner finished 29th on the Rallye du Var, but crashed his Clio on the Taormina-Messina Rally in Sicily earlier in the year.
Kubica is not the only F1 star competing in rallies this season, as former world champion Kimi Raikkonen has made a season-long commitment to WRC with the Citroen Junior Team. Raikkonen's first event is also later this month, when he drives the C4 WRC on the Arctic Rally.
There had been rumours that Raikkonen would be joined in northern Finland by countryman Heikki Kovalainen. Kovalainen, who recently signed for Lotus, has been tipped for a Proton Satria Neo S2000 drive on the Rovaniemi event, but the chances of that happening are now fading.
The fifth Intercontinental Rally Challenge was the best yet, and it was Skoda UK driver Andreas Mikkelsen who emerged as champion from a tense five-way shootout at the season finale. Matt Beer reviews the season