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Latvala, who was left without a manufacturer seat when Volkswagen opted to withdraw from the series last month, joins compatriot Juho Hänninen – who was unveiled by the Japanese squad in October – in Toyota's Yaris WRC. Both men will make their debuts in the car at January's season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo (19-22 January).

The Finland-based team, which is being led by four-time WRC title winner Tommi Mäkinen, has also announced that newly-crowned WRC 2 champion, Esapekka Lappi, has joined its ranks as test driver.

This afternoon's official launch brings an end to months of speculation about which drivers will get the chance to lead the Japanese manufacturer's assault on the WRC as it returns to competition action after a 17-year absence.

The Toyota Yaris WRC will make its WRC debut at Rallye Monte-Carlo

Latvala is pleased to secure his WRC future and is excited about the new challenge that lies ahead. "I started my rally career in a Toyota Corolla GT back in 2001 and my first competitive outing in a World Rally Car was behind the wheel of a Corolla WRC in 2003," the 16-time WRC rally winner said. "In many ways it feels like I'm coming home.

"I'm really happy to join the Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC team from the very start and lead this new adventure with them. I feel lucky to be part of this story and I hope we will take a lot of victories in it."

Fello Finn, Lappi, who won the 2016 WRC 2 title at last month's Kennards Hire Rally Australia, is relishing the chance to acquaint himself with a 2017-spec World Rally Car as he continues his development as a driver.

The 25-year-old said: "This is a tremendous opportunity for me and my co-driver Janne Ferm. It's a dream come true. We have both worked so hard over the years to get to this point and finally, it's here. We're excited and motivated about joining the team and we're extremely grateful for this opportunity. I can't wait to start our testing programme with the Yaris WRC."

Lappi, who is considered one of the WRC's hottest young talents, is expected to drive a third Yaris WRC on selected events in 2017, although Toyota Gazoo Racing has yet to confirm when this will happen.

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M-Sport have confirmed that reigning FIA World Rally Champion Sebastien Ogier will pilot the all-new Ford Fiesta WRC for the squad in 2017 alongside Ott Tänak.

Having tested the new Fiesta in Wales last month, Ogier was sufficiently impressed by the team’s latest creation and agreed terms with the Cumbrian outfit to spearhead his championship defence.

Since starting their WRC campaign in 2008, Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia have secured four world championships, 38 victories, 56 podiums and an impressive 475 stage wins – and were recently celebrated for their latest success at the glittering 2016 FIA Prize Giving Ceremony in Vienna.

Lining up alongside Ogier and Ingrassia is Tänak and new co-driver Martin Järveoja. The Estonian was crowned this year’s WRC Driver of the Year and is keen to take another step forward.

With the start of Rallye Monte-Carlo just 38 days away, the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship is setting up to be an exciting and unpredictable competition.

Sébastien Ogier said: “There will be a lot of new things this season, but I am definitely looking forward to it. We have a new generation of world rally cars, and a new team – it’s certainly an exciting time.

“There’s not long before we line-up at the start of Rallye Monte-Carlo and we’ve not had a lot of seat time with the Ford Fiesta WRC, but we’ll give it our best to be ready. We’re aware of the challenges, and I can see how hungry Malcolm and his team are for success.

“It’s funny to think that just a few months ago I was sitting at a motor sport forum at Wales Rally GB saying how nice it would be to work with him one day. I had no idea at the time that it would come quite so soon, but here we are!

“I’m looking forward to working with M-Sport, and we’ll certainly be aiming to return them to the top-step of the podium!”

M-Sport Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said: “We go to Rallye Monte-Carlo with the number one on the door of the Ford Fiesta WRC and the strongest driver line-up we have had in years. To say we’re excited about next season is an understatement. We believe that we have produced an exceptional car, and we are in the best possible position ahead of this exciting new era.

“I’ve made no secret of how much we wanted to work with Sebastien and Julien, and it is fantastic to welcome them to the team. We have worked extremely hard to secure them, and they believe that the Ford Fiesta WRC is the car with which they can best defend their championship.

“With Ott and Martin lining up alongside them, we are in for one hell of a season. Ott has had a very impressive year with consistent speed. He’s played a major role in the development of the new car, and I’m sure that the elusive first victory isn’t too far away!”