Archive for February 26, 2010

Rally Mexico Preview: Back pain ensures Kimi focuses on regaining fitness for rally

Source: Racecar.com  | Find out more including itinery at RallyBuzz and RallyMexico.com

Following the wintery conditions of the Rally
Sweden, the Citroën Junior Team now changes continent and surface to
contest the first gravel round of the 2010 FIA World Rally Championship
season. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia and Kimi Räikkönen/Kaj
Lindström will drive the team’s two Citroën C4 WRCs.

Having appeared on the World Rally Championship for the first time in
2004, the León-based event features the most concentrated rally route on
the calendar this year. In fact, a full 354.60 kilometres out of a
total route length of only 884.58 kilometres are run competitively.
Another peculiarity of Rally Mexico is that competitors will be driving
at an altitude of almost 2800 metres at one point on the opening day
(Ortega, SS2 and SS6). Citroën comes into the event fresh from three
consecutive victories in Mexico, between 2006 and 2008. Nonetheless, the
Rally Mexico will be an all-new experience for the Citroën Junior Team,
which goes there for the first time.

Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia, who finished a brilliant fifth on
the season-opening Rally Sweden, have some fond memories of their first
visit to Mexico. In 2008, Rally Mexico marked the French crew’s World
Rally Championship debut. They got their Junior World Rally Championship
campaign off to a flying start with a momentous win.

“It was a career-defining moment,” remembered Sébastien. “I’ve got some
very happy memories of Mexico. We had a lot to learn, but in the end we
were able to win after a rally where we were forced to attack in order
to gain an advantage, but then also moderate our pace in order to look
after the car. I really like this rally as the stages are very flowing
and progressive. The fans are especially enthusiastic in Mexico as
well!”

Since making their World Rally Championship debut two years ago,
Sébastien and Julien have climbed onto the overall podium (thanks to
second place in Greece last year) and finished eighth in the 2009 World
Rally Championship for drivers. In Sweden, their fifth place ensured
that they beat several local Scandinavian specialists. So in Mexico, the
French duo’s objective will be to at least equal that result.

“We started the season well, with a top-five finish on our first visit
to Sweden,” added Sébastien. “Our objective is to maintain this same
pace throughout the season and get closer to the podium on the events
that we know a bit already. “In Mexico, we start off with the advantage
of having already driven eight of the 11 different stages in the C2
Super 1600. On top of that, we were able to prepare for this rally with a
day of testing in Spain. If there’s a chance of finishing higher than
fifth, we’re certainly going to go for it!”

Kimi Räikkönen and Kaj Lindström will continue their learning curve on
the gravel of Mexico. Following their first rally on the snowy tracks of
Sweden in February, the Finnish crew now faces a new challenge on a
very different surface.

“What I love about rallying is that you have to be competitive on all
sorts of different surfaces,” said Kimi.

“After my experience on snow, now I’m going to find out about driving on
gravel. I really don’t know what to expect, but that is all part of our
learning process. I’m very much looking to driving the Citroën C4 WRC
in these challenging conditions and getting as many kilometres under my
belt as I can, in order to add to my experience.”

Three
questions to… Kimi Räikkönen

Looking back on it now, what
conclusions can you draw from your first event in the World Rally
Championship with the Citroën Junior Team C4 WRC?


“The really positive thing is that we managed to cover all the stages on
the Rally Sweden and we learned a lot. We could have done better
overall had it not been for some small mistakes but we managed to
improve our stage times as the rally went on. That was our initial
objective. The second run through the stages was better for us. I also
felt a big difference once I became more confident with my pace notes.
With more experience, things should get increasingly easier.”

Mexico will be the first time that you
drive the Citroën C4 WRC on gravel. Do you think that you will find this
surface easier than snow?


“I’m really looking forward to starting the Rally Mexico. My impression
is that driving on gravel should be a little bit easier for us. Or at
least that’s what Marcus Grönholm told me! I reckon that we will find a
more consistent level of grip on gravel. But for the moment I’m still
lacking experience. I just need to get more kilometres in the car in
order to get used to the Citroën C4 WRC in particular and rallying in
general.”

How are you going to approach the Rally
Mexico?


“My plan had initially been to take part in a test session on gravel, in
order to get to know the Citroën C4 WRC a bit better on a new surface
for me. But unfortunately I experienced a bit of back pain that stopped
me from driving. I’ve had some treatment now but I preferred to rest
before leaving for Mexico. Of course I would have liked to test the car
before going, but it was important to recuperate in order to start the
second rally of the season in the best possible physical shape.”

Useful
information

World Rally Radio will be broadcasting live from the event each day,
with roundup podcasts available at the end of each day.

Host City: León

TimeZone: GMT -6

On air times

Friday 5 March: 0700hrs

Saturday 6 March: 0730hrs

Sunday 7 March: 0730hrs

Practical information: The
Service Park and headquarters are in the Poliforum Expo Center. The
Media Centre is in the Expo-Feria on the Rally Campus. There is a
seven-hour time difference between Mexico (GMT -6) and France (GMT +1).
So when it is 1200 in León, it will be 1900 in Paris. On the first day
of the rally, Friday 4 March, the sun will rise at 0704 and set at 1852.
In March, the temperature ranges between 15°C and 30°C with dry
conditions expected. The local currency is the Mexican Peso (MX Peso). 1
€ = 20 MX Pesos.

Technical: The engines used in
Mexico will be used again in Turkey and Portugal. The spare parts
(gearboxes, differentials, front and rear subframes, steering racks and
turbos) are shared with the Rally Turkey.


Tyres:
Each crew will have a
total of 36 hard compound Pirelli Scorpion tyres at their disposal,
including six for the shakedown.

Reconnaissance: This will take
place on Tuesday 2 March from 0700-1800 and Wednesday 3 March from
0700-1730, with a maximum of two runs through each special stage. The
maximum permitted speed is 90kph, except when local signs indicate a
lower limit.

Shakedown: Thursday 4 March
between 0800 and 1200 at San Juan de Otates, which is located 15.9
kilometres away from the service park on a 5.13-kilometre stage.

Start ceremony: Thursday 4 March
in front of the Alhòndiga de Granaditas at Guanajuato from 2000.

Friday 5 March: Day 1

SS1 Alfaro 1 22.96km 07.28


SS2 Ortega 1 23.83km 09.01


SS3 El Cubilete 1 8.87km 09.49


SS4 Coca-Cola Street Stage 1.50km 10.57 


Serv A León Poliforum (30 mins) 11.19


SS5 Alfaro 2 22.96km 12.17


SS6 Ortega 2 23.83km 13.50


SS7 El Cubilete 2 18.87km 14.38 


SS8 Super Special 1 2.21km 15.53


SS9 Super Special 2 2.21km 15.58


Serv B León Poliforum (45 mins) 16.28 


Finish León 17.13

Total 137.24km

Saturday 6 March: Day 2

Serv C León Poliforum (15 mins) 07.00 


SS10 Ibarrilla 1 29.90km 07.54


SS11 Duarte 1 23.27km 09.17 


SS12 Derramadero 1 23.28km 10.08


SS13 Coca-Cola Street Stage 1.50km 11.21


Serv D León Poliforum (30 mins) 11.43 


SS14 Ibarrilla 2 29.90km 12.52 


SS15 Duarte 2 23.27km 14.15 


SS16 Derramadero 2 23.28km 15.06 


SS17 Super Special 3 2.21km 16.21 


SS18 Super Special 4 2.21km 16.26 


Serv E León Poliforum (45 mins) 16.56

Day 2 Finish León 17.41

Total 158.82km

Sunday 7 March: Day 3Serv F León
Poliforum (15 mins) 07.45 


SS19 Guanajuatito 29.13km 08.43 


SS20 Sauz Seco 7.05km 09.34 


SS21 Comanjilla 17.94km 10.12 


SS22 Super Special 5 4.42km 11.27 


Serv G León Poliforum (10 mins) 12.00



Finish León 13.00

Total 58.54km 


Rally total 354.60km

Final podium: Sunday 7 March, from 1300.



Back pain prevents Raikkonen test
Source: Autosport.com

Kimi Raikkonen has been unable to carry out his planned test prior to
next week’s Rally Mexico due to back discomfort – but is still
optimistic that he will fare better on the gravel event than he did in
the snowy conditions of the season-opening Rally Sweden.

The former Formula 1 world champion has yet to try the Citroen C4 on
gravel, but did not want to risk carrying an injury into the rally.

"My plan had initially been to take part in a test session on gravel,
in order to get to know the Citroen C4 WRC a bit better on a new
surface for me," said Raikkonen.

"But unfortunately I experienced a bit of back pain that stopped me
from driving. I’ve had some treatment now but I preferred to rest before
leaving for Mexico.

"Of course I would have liked to test the car before going, but it
was important to recuperate in order to start the second rally of the
season in the best possible physical shape."

Having been delayed by accidents in the two snow rallies he has
contested for Citroen Junior – the Arctic Rally and the World Rally
Championship opener in Sweden – Raikkonen expects to be more comfortable
on the gravel in Mexico.

"My impression is that driving on gravel should be a little bit
easier for us. Or at least that’s what Marcus Gronholm told me!" he
joked.

"I reckon that we will find a more consistent level of grip on
gravel. But for the moment I’m still lacking experience. I just need to
get more kilometres in the car in order to get used to the Citroen C4
WRC in particular and rallying in general."

Raikkonen added that he was still satisfied with his achievements in
Sweden, having set some promising times between incidents.

"The really positive thing is that we managed to cover all the stages
on the Rally Sweden and we learned a lot," he said. "We could have done
better overall had it not been for some small mistakes but we managed
to improve our stage times as the rally went on. That was our initial
objective.

"The second run through the stages was better for us. I also felt a
big difference once I became more confident with my pace notes. With
more experience, things should get increasingly easier."

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