Former Ford factory driver Toni Gardemeister is hoping a strong result on next week's Rally Finland will be enough to land him a full-time return to the World Rally Championship.
Gardemeister hasn't competed in the WRC since Suzuki withdrew from the sport at the end of 2008, but the 35-year-old has a wealth of experience at the highest level, having started 111 world rallies and driven for five different manufacturer teams.
Gardemeister will start Rally Finland in a Ford Fiesta S2000 next week – aiming for victory in one of the closest-fought categories of the season.
He said: "To compete in Rally Finland has been my primary goal for this season. My intention is to drive and get an excellent result which will help my future plans. I want to keep my name on the surface of the world's rally scene and demonstrate that I'm an option in the drivers market for the 2011 season."
Gardemeister finished third at last week's Rally Estonia, trailing Ott Tanak, who won Group N in a Subaru.
"Rally Estonia was a perfect test round for me," added Gardemeister. 'There was 180kms of special stages and the stages in southern Estonia are very similar to Finland."
Gardemeister's fellow Finn Mikko Hirvonen has also been preparing himself for Rally Finland. The current factory Ford driver completed 500 kilometers of running – including a day on the infamous Ouninpohja stage.
Hirvonen said: "It was good to be back in the car again. For us, this was just a general set-up test. We used one of my favourite stages – Ouninpohja – for the first part of the test, this gives a good feeling on the wide fast roads and then we switched to another stage for the next day where we drove some more narrow, technical roads. I did about 500 kilometers."