Dutchman Kuipers will drive Juho Hanninen’s Ford Fiesta RS after the Finn confirmed he was unable to take part for personal reasons.
Kuipers drove a Ford Fiesta RS WRC for the FERM Power Tools World Rally Team in 2011. He finished 12th in the final standings on the back of a career-best fifth on Rallye de France Alsace.
He made only one WRC appearance in 2012, finishing sixth on Rally de Portugal, before a crash on the German Rallye Sulinger in May led to a lengthy recuperation from back injuries and a broken collarbone.
“Firstly I want to send my best wishes to Juho and his family and I am sure the team will agree that it won’t be quite the same without him and Tomi [Tuominen, Hänninen’s co-driver] in the service park,” said Kuipers.
“But I also need to say a big thank-you to Malcolm [Wilson] and Nasser [Al-Attiyah] for making it possible for me to compete in Juho’s absence. I really enjoy this event and it holds a lot of good memories for me. I can’t wait to get back to the WRC and I am really looking forward to working with M-Sport once again.”
Kuipers will be co-driven in Portugal by Robin Buysmans.