M-Sport's Ford Fiesta R5 could make its public debut on next month's Tour de Corse. Citroen's DS3 R5, meanwhile, is expected to start testing this week after it was unveiled in Portugal last week.
The all-new R5 category is growing quickly, but it looks like the Ford will be the first to emerge, with a May Corsican outing as the zero car being followed by a possible competitive debut on the Ypres Rally the following month.
"Corsica is possible, it would be great to get out there as zero car," M-Sport managing director Malcolm Wilson said. "This would test the car and showcase just how good we hope and expect it to be. After that, we are putting something forward officially now to compete in Ypres.
"The FIA has been with us for a couple of days to check the car over and they are happy with what they have seen so far."
Britain's Kris Meeke will be working on the test and development of the DS3 R5 – which will share parts with Peugeot's 208 T16 – with the Citroen not expected to be running before the start of next season.