Corsica linea - Tour de Corse (28 - 21 March) marks a step into the unknown for WRC 2 Pro front-runners Kalle Rovanperä and Łukasz Pieniążek who will both tackle the Mediterranean island rally for the first time.
The pair are closely matched after two scoring rounds, with Pieniążek second in the standings on 37 points, one point ahead of Rovanperä.
And with overall leader on 40 points Gus Greensmith sitting out this round, both drivers have the chance to edge ahead.
Corsica will be Pieniążek's first asphalt rally with M-Sport's Ford Fiesta, and two weeks after winning WRC 2 Pro in Mexico he carried out a day of testing on Sunday to familiarise himself with the car in asphalt trim.
Rovanperä [main picture] has more experience of asphalt in his Škoda Fabia. Last year he was second in WRC 2 at ADAC Rallye Deutschland and won the gravel/asphalt mixed event in Spain.
Following second places at Rallye Monte-Carlo and Rally Sweden, the 18-year-old Finn hopes to go one better at this year's first pure asphalt test.
Championship leader Ole Christian Veiby will resume his title bid at the wheel of a VW Polo GTI hoping to repeat his recent win in Sweden.
The Norwegian will go up against a strong contingent of French drivers including his closest title rival, reigning national champion Yoann Bonato, who won the first round in a Citroën C3.
Runner-up in Monte-Carlo, French junior champion Adrien Fourmaux (Ford Fiesta) lies fourth in the standings and is also expected to do well.
Adding to the quality of the French entries are Nicolas Ciamin, back for a second WRC 2 appearance this year in a VW Polo GTI, former M-Sport Ford driver Éric Camilli, who makes his season debut in a Polo, and Pierre-Louis Loubet (Škoda Fabia).
Two former Junior WRC champions will get their campaigns underway in Corsica. Nil Solans, who lifted the title in 2017, will drive a Fiesta alongside veteran co-driver Marc Marti, while 2016 title winner Simone Tempestini will be at the wheel of a Hyundai i20, having switched from a Citroën C3.
The 16-strong entry also includes Russia's reigning European junior champion Nikolay Gryazin (Fabia) and Toyota Gazoo development driver Takamoto Katsuta (Fiesta).
It's also the start of a new WRC 2 season for multiple European and Polish champion Kajetan Kajetanowicz who has swapped from a Fiesta to a Polo.
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