Mikko Hirvonen is ready to take to the racetrack in his bid to try and overcome chief World Rally Championship rival Sebastien Loeb on asphalt events.
Next season's WRC campaign includes four asphalt rallies in its 13-event schedule, and Loeb has not been beaten on a sealed surface round of the series since 2004.
That run of form has left Hirvonen convinced he has to learn more about driving on asphalt if he is going to launch a full-on title assault, and that means getting experience on a racetrack.
The 2009 championship runner-up plans to spend more time with driver coach Rob Wilson, and hopes to actually take him out in a Focus RS WRC car.
"When I'm driving on gravel, I always know what the car's going to do, but it's not so clear on tarmac," explained Hirvonen. "I definitely need more time with the car testing for asphalt. And I need more time with Rob [Wilson].
"When I worked with him before Catalunya [in 2009], it helped, but I should have done it more often. When I did it this year , it was just to get my brain back to driving on asphalt again. I wouldn't say I learned anything new this year. I refreshed and got myself back in tarmac driving."
Hirvonen has ruled out contesting extra asphalt rallies, but says he does want to get on to a racetrack to learn some of the qualities to find a quick lap time.
He added: "I'm not going for races, I would just drive on the circuit on my own and know how to brake and where to brake. But also it's different driving on circuit to the stage. I'm sure, on the circuit, I would know where to brake on the circuit and how to do it."
Ford's team director Malcolm Wilson has backed Hirvonen's asphalt push – and knows it is a key area where his outfit can improve.
"There are four asphalt rallies next year and we've got a lot of testing planned," he said. "As well as this, we're going to work with the drivers more on this surface. They need more experience.
"All of the work the guys have done with Rob Wilson has been in a road car, so we'll try and get him in a rally car and see if we can learn more, see what he can do from there."