Matthew Wilson will return to the World Rally Championship this year to contest the WRC2 class with M-Sport's new R5-spec Ford Fiesta.
Wilson drove for the M-Sport-run Stobart Ford team from 2006 to '11, but sponsor difficulties and injury meant he only managed two WRC rounds last year.
WRC2 replaces the Super 2000 WRC as the championship's top feeder series this season. M-Sport's R5 car is set to hit the track for the first time next week, with Wilson revealing that he will join the series in the second half of the calendar.
"It will be fantastic promotion for the car and a good chance for me to win that championship too," said Wilson at the AUTOSPORT International motorsports show. "You're still getting the experience of the rallies, which is one of the most important things. It's at the highest level, but with a car one step down."
The 25-year-old hopes to use the WRC2 program as a springboard back to the WRC's top level. Wilson feels he was on the brink of hitting peak form when his previous drive fell through. Fourth place in Australia in 2011 is his best career result.
"I had a fantastic opportunity with the backing from Stobart, and because we had security, we had a plan that we could build up speed and do it over four or five years," he said. "We probably did it at the wrong time. When we were getting to the point where we were close to the podium, in effect there were two manufacturers.
"You never know what can happen, and I think at 25 there's still plenty of time. Kris Meeke got his works Mini drive at 32. Sometimes you have to take a step back to go forward, and that's what we're trying to do this year."