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MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi will compete in the penultimate round of the world rally championship (WRC) in New Zealand next month in a privately-entered Subaru.

"Valentino has entered Rally New Zealand privately in his own name," the Subaru team's managing director Richard Taylor told the official WRC web site.

"He will however be driving a car supplied by us. In fact, the car which (Australian) Chris Atkinson drove in Germany this year.

"There's still a little bit of work to do on the details and it may be run alongside the Subaru team. But it will certainly not be an SWRT-liveried car."

The Yamaha rider, who will be fighting for his sixth successive title in the top class of motorcycling in Portugal this weekend, has entered the world rally championship once before, in Britain in 2002.

That time he was driving a Peugeot 205 prepared by the Italian Grifone team and did not make it through the first day of competition.

The 27-year-old Italian has also competed in non-championship rallies in Italy and was linked until earlier this year with a switch to Formula One with Ferrari.

The New Zealand rally, based in Hamilton, runs from November 17-19 and was chosen because it comes well after the end of the MotoGP season.

Rossi is second in the MotoGP standings, 12 points adrift of Honda's American Nicky Hayden, with two races left.
 
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