JYVÄSKYLÄ, Finland - Ford's rally technical guru will swap four wheels for two this summer when he tackles one of the world's toughest motorbike competitions to raise money for a children's medical research charity.
Christian Loriaux, technical director for the Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team, will fulfil a lifetime's ambition by riding the International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) race in Finland.
Loriaux has secured an entry to the race with Belgium's national team and the 44-year-old will ride a KTM 250 EXC two-stroke bike.
While racing on gruelling off-road sections, Loriaux will raise money for Sparks, a British-based charity founded by professional sports people to fund medical research to improve children's health.
The ISDE is the oldest and most prestigious off-road race in the sport's calendar. Up to 500 riders from 30 countries will compete in the Kotka- Hamina region of southern Finland from 8 - 13 August, where riders will face almost 1500km of special tests.
"This race is so tough that simply finishing will be one of the biggest physical challenges I have faced in my life," said Loriaux. "For the last 20 years I have ridden enduro races around Europe, with the dream that one day I would attempt the ISDE. That has now become a reality.
Loriaux has prepared for the race by recently tackling three enduros in five weeks. He competed in rounds of the British, Scottish and French enduro championships.
"As well as coping with the physical demands, I wanted to use my participation to raise money for a children's charity. I've chosen Sparks and I'm fortunate enough to have attracted considerable sponsorship from a wide range of partners.
"All the money raised will be donated directly to Sparks, and I'm truly grateful to the support of so many people and companies who have donated to such a worthwhile cause," added Loriaux.
Loriaux will showcase his participation in the race during Rally Finland on 28 - 30 July, in which he will lead the Ford Abu Dhabi squad's engineering team in the eighth round of the FIA World Rally Championship.
He will host a press conference at the rally in Jyväskylä on Wednesday 27 July and his KTM race bike will be on display in the rally's service park during the weekend.
Loriaux has set up a website page where donations can be accepted for Sparks. It can be found at http://www.justgiving.com/christian-loriaux.