British driver Guy Wilks has signed a five-rally deal with Italy's JAS Motorsport which will include competing in two rounds of the 2008 Australian Rally Championship.

Wilks and co-driver, Phil Pugh, will showcase the new Honda Civic Type R R3 rally car on two rounds of the Australian Rally Championship, Rally Finland (WRC), Rally Russia (IRC) and a fifth international rally yet to be confirmed.

The 2007 British champion told his official website:  "JAS has a superb motorsport pedigree and it is a privilege to be joining them for 2008. I am sure we can deliver some very strong results together with the R3 rally car on some very challenging rallies, starting with Rally of Canberra in May."

JAS Motorsport has been the official partner of Honda in Touring Cars since 1998.

The front-wheel drive Civic, built to the new R class regulations, is powered by a 260bhp engine built by Mugen, Honda's renowned tuning partner, and will run on Pirelli tyres.

The car was exhibited at the world famous Geneva Motor Show last month, next to Honda's Formula 1 'earth car'.

Wilks and Pugh will contest the Rally of Canberra (May 10 and 11) and Rally of Melbourne (October 18 and 19) in collaboration with Honda Australia. Rally Russia takes place on July 11 and 12 and Rally Finland from July 31 to August 3.

None of the rallies clash with Wilks' British title defence with Mitsubishi Motors UK.

The announcement is a boost for this year's ARC, with only one other factory-supported team currently entered, that being Toyota.  Whilst the two-wheel drive Honda may not be an outright contender against the super-quick Corollas, it will certainly add some interest to the competition. 

With a little bit of luck, some success from Wilks could even see Honda committed to a full-on assault in 2009.

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