Valtteri Bottas confirms he will make his rally debut in 2019
Valtteri Bottas is set to swap his single-seater Mercedes Grand Prix car for a Ford Fiesta World Rally Car when he kicks off his 2019 season in January.
The Finn has announced he will be making his competitive rally debut in Finland in the Arctic Lapland Rally, from January 24-26.
He will be driving an M Sport Fiesta, and his co-driver will be Timo Rautiainen, who performed the role for former Finnish WRC champ Marcus Gronholm in 2000 and 2002.
"This is a unique opportunity to take a peek into the world of rallying, and I would like to thank everyone who has made it possible," said Mercedes man Bottas.
"It's totally new territory for me too, as I have no prior experience of a World Rally Car.
Bottas is swapping his Mercedes F1 car for a rally challenger (Pic: Mercedes)
"Still, being the race car driver that I am, you always go flat out whatever the vehicle you're driving in."
The rally is taking place just three weeks before Formula 1 pre-season testing begins in February.
Bottas is the latest in a long line of F1 drivers to have given rallying a try – most recently fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen, who competed in the WRC for two years in 2010 and 2011, and Polish star Robert Kubica, whose F1 career was put on hold after he suffered serious injuries in a rally crash in 2011.
But plenty of other Formula 1 stars have swapped the tarmac for the gravel – here are a few more: