Kimi Raikkonen off-track

| Source: autosport.com |


Kimi Raikkonen has always been his own man, and when he tired of F1 in 2009, he set off for a two-year sabbatical. AUTOSPORT looks back at his rallying, NASCAR and sportscar adventures.


The Iceman became the Snowman pretty quickly. Shortly after starting his very first event with the Citroen C4 WRC in 2010 – the Arctic Rally in Finland, a warm-up for Rally Sweden – spectators were treated to the surreal sight of the 2007 Formula 1 world champion digging his own car out of a snowbank.

That would never have happened at Ferrari. But it was a skill that Raikkonen was to practise again on Rally Sweden itself a couple of weeks later, where the icy stages also take no prisoners. The man who Sir Stirling Moss once described as “the fastest driver in the world” turned out to be a dab hand with a shovel as well.

Of course, this was far from being Raikkonen’s first foray into world rallying – that took place on his home Rally Finland in 2009, at the wheel of a Super 2000 Abarth Grande Punto.

1389182677He was straight into the top three, fighting with future Intercontinental Rally Challenge and Super 2000 champion Juho Hanninen and Anton Alen, a former 1000 Lakes Group N class winner and son of rally legend Markku. Kimi is very close to the Alen family – one of his houses in Finland is just across the road from Markku’s – so he probably picked up a few tips.

Raikkonen undoubtedly felt his stunning performance in Finland would translate seamlessly into something similar in the World Rally Car category. Plenty of others thought exactly the same. But being competitive in the Super 2000 class is one thing, taking on Sebastien Loeb in the same car is another.

To be fair to Raikkonen, he approached it with an open mind. “I’ve always admired rally drivers for their skills and bravery,” he said at the time. “I just wanted to see if I could do it myself.”

It only took him three WRC events to finish in the points (with eighth in Jordan), and on the following round he scored what would remain his best result: fifth in Turkey.

That event, as Europe lay beneath an ash cloud that grounded aviation, was the prelude to an interesting journey home for most people. Apart from Kimi that is, who somehow managed to persuade his pilot to take off. He was relaxing at home before most of his Citroen colleagues had thought about boarding their coach back to Paris. It took them three days.

There were some low points as well. Raikkonen let out an unmanly yelp as his car went off the edge in El Cubilete, Mexico, followed by a string of words that are unprintable but extremely amusing.

While Kimi’s co-driver Kaj Lindstrom no doubt got sick of a scene acted out at hotels around the world most mornings – every Citroen driver (bar one) sitting patiently in the minibus, waiting to leave, while Lindstrom frantically called Kimi’s room from reception – Loeb was quite chuffed. “It’s good, because normally it’s me who is late,” he pointed out – directly from the minibus.

1389182701Kimi’s first and only fastest stage time came on the 2010 Rally Germany’s Circus Maximus, a spectator superspecial around the Porta Nigra – an ancient Roman gate – in Trier.

For his second season in the WRC, Raikkonen’s budget was significantly reduced, forcing him to go with his own team – Ice1 Racing – in a Citroen DS3 WRC funded by a variety of private sponsors. He didn’t complete a full season, tackling nine events in total with a best result of sixth in Jordan and Germany.

Under the WRC Team rules, he was obliged to contest two events outside Europe, and his decision to skip Rally Australia because it was “a long way” fell foul of that regulation.

Unsurprisingly, the Australian stewards did not accept the geographical location of their event as a mitigating circumstance and Ice1 Racing was excluded from the teams’ championship (although Raikkonen finished 10th in the drivers’ standings, for the second year running).

Then came the call to Lotus, but Kimi doesn’t think he would be where he is today without his two years in rallying.

“You cannot compare the two and say that this definitely helped,” he points out. “But when I stopped in F1 I was ready to do something different and challenge myself, and without that I don’t think I’d have come back.”

Raikkonen might not have had the results he wanted in the WRC, but he brought some real star quality to the championship with an army of passionate fans.

To our knowledge, Ken Block is the only other rally driver who has been followed into the toilet and photographed there… David Evans



With his rallying sojourn fraying at the seams, Raikkonen spent a month in the US in 2011, running two tests and two races with Kyle Busch Motorsports.

His first experience of NASCAR-style machinery came in a truck test at the half-mile Gresham Motorsports Park oval in Georgia. And it didn’t take long for Kimi to make an impression on the team.

“A lot of time when we test, the driver will go out and mosey around for a couple of laps to get their bearings and get familiar with the racetrack,” says KBM team manager Rick Ren.

“He didn’t do that. When he went down pitroad he was wide open and that just shows his ability and confidence in his car control. I’m not used to people doing that.”

A further test followed at Rockingham, before Raikkonen made his Truck Series debut around the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway. Kimi finished 15th and a week later contested the Nationwide race at the same track in a car run by KBM, but entered by Joe Nemechek’s team.

“The truck race didn’t go as good as I hoped it would, but the car race was going very well until he had a pitroad speeding penalty,” Ren recalls.

1389182747“I was really impressed during the Nationwide race. Our car was not nearly as good as what it could have been, he was driving the wheels off that thing and doing a very good job.

“It just ended up being not quite such a good day. We were running about seventh and that’s very respectable.”

But the race wasn’t without its dramas. As anyone who heard Kimi’s Abu Dhabi radio chat is aware, he knows what he’s doing – even if that means failing to wear the correct protective gear…

“When he first came here I looked at his shoes and I told him, ‘I don’t think you’ll be able to run those shoes over here’ and he’s like, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah that’s what I always race with’, so he didn’t want to put the heat shields on. The floorboards get exceptionally hot in NASCAR vehicles, maybe 125-130 degrees.

“But he didn’t want to put his booties on as we call them and we are a bit into the race and he comes on the radio and says, ‘My feet are getting very hot! Never mind, I will put them out the window!’

“I thought that was the funniest thing I ever heard on the pitbox. And that was the only time he brought it up in the whole race.”

The team was keen to run Raikkonen in more races, but he never returned its call. Andrew van de Burgt


Peugeot motorsport boss Olivier Quesnel had long since promised Kimi Raikkonen, then competing in World Rallying with sister marque Citroen, a go in one of his 908 HDi LMP1 turbodiesels and duly delivered in August 2011.

Quesnel, who was in charge of both marques, always denied that there was anything more to the test, but insiders insist that an outing at the Le Mans 24 Hours was discussed at some point. And quite rightly so after Raikkonen’s performance during his short try-out at Motorland Aragon.

“Kimi was quick straight out of the box,” says one of Peugeot’s retinue of drivers. “He got in the car and matched the quickest time of the test inside four laps.

“He arrived late, I think, didn’t make any fuss and didn’t bother too much about the seating position, and bang, he did the time. He did around 25 laps and then went home.”

Raikkonen apparently liked the car, apart from its powersteering, but any chance of a race outing as good as disappeared three months later when it was announced he’d be returning to F1 with Lotus.

And then it disappeared for good when Peugeot called time on its sportscar programme another couple of months after that.

By Gary Watkins


Kimi on his LeMans experience (from F1Racing magazine Nov 2011 issue):

“The Le Mans car was interesting but, to be honest, the steering was quite sh*t and the windscreen was really strange – it sort of distorts the view… maybe because it’s very round”

“I can’t imagine what it’s like with oil and mess after you’ve been racing for a long time. But I enjoyed the experience and the car felt good.”

Kimi on Team Radio during Nascar:

“Biggest problem is my foot. It’s burning. I don’t understand how this car can be so hot. My ass is even burning in here!”

“They [the feet] are burning, but I get them off the floor so it’s better. Need drink.”

About these ads

Räikkönen’s development in rally convinced Hirvonen and Latvala

Source: ts.fi | Translation courtesy of Nicole

Kimi in rally

Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala both believe that Kimi Räikkönen’s results would also had improved on rally paths, had Kimi continued in WRC for the third season.

Räikkönen returned to F1 after two years in rally and he drove for the first time during his whole career all the races from start to finish. After his rallying experience Kimi was better than ever before in all weather conditions. (more…)

Raikkonen wants to make rally return “for fun”

Source: autosport.com

Kimi Raikkonen is keen to return to rallying “for fun” after his Formula 1 career is over.

The 32-year-old Finn has no plans to walk away from grand prix racing and has impressed on his comeback after two years competing in the World Rally Championship.

But when his time in F1 does come to an end in the future, he wants to try his hand at rallying again.

“I will do it for fun,” Raikkonen told AUTOSPORT. “The one reason why I wanted to do it in the first place was to see if I can do it or not.

“I’m a big fan of it and I always thought it was so difficult that I wanted to see what happens.

“I still want to improve in it and try to do well. It’s something that, when I’m a bit older, I can do and have fun with. I will definitely do it when I have more time.

“I enjoy both [rallying and F1]. I would like to do both of them at the same time but because of timetables, schedules and other reasons it’s not possible.”

Raikkonen denied the suggestion that his return to F1 was indicative that he has lost interest in rallying.

He was keen to contest Rally Finland earlier this year but was prevented from doing so by his Lotus team.

But Raikkonen did admit that he missed the wheel-to-wheel aspect of racing.

“It’s not that I lost interest in rallying,” said Raikkonen. “It’s just that I’ve always raced in my life and when you race against each other it’s different to just doing times.

“I enjoy racing against people. It’s why I came back, to have a fight against others.

“It’s completely different to last year in rallying. When I did NASCAR [in 2011] I enjoyed it a lot and even though it is very different to F1, it’s still racing against each other.

“I had a good time. I kind of missed it [racing].”

Coming up next from Autosport:

@eddstrawF1: The August 30 issue of AUTOSPORT will be one for Kimi Raikkonen fans. Just putting the finishing touches on a story about him.

Lotus: No Rally Finland for Kimi

Source: autosport.com

Kimi Raikkonen will not be allowed to take part in Rally Finland later this year, Autosport has learned, with his team bosses unwilling to release him from his commitments to the Lotus Formula 1 team.

The former world champion had sought clearance to make a one-off return to the WRC, even though it is understood his F1 contract forbids him from taking part in rallying.

However, following talks between Raikkonen and his boss Eric Boullier in Monaco, he was informed that the memory Robert Kubica’s rally crash last year meant the team was not prepared to allow him to compete.

Boullier told Autosport: “I sat down with Kimi earlier today and we talked about it.

“His contract does not allow him to go rallying and, after what happened with Robert, this team could not let him do it.

“He fully understands the situation, so the matter is closed now.”

Kubica was badly injured in an Italian rally crash in February last year, shortly after the first pre-season F1 test. His injuries forced him out for the season and there remain doubts about whether or not he will be able to make an F1 return.

Raikkonen competed in the WRC in 2010 and ’11 before deciding to come back to F1 for this season.

Kimi hopes to compete in Rally Finland

Source: autosport.com

Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen is hoping to return to the World Rally Championship for his home round of the series, Rally Finland in August.

Raikkonen departed the WRC last season, having spent two years driving a factory-specification Citroen.

The Jyvaskyla-based Rally Finland is the event Raikkonen has most experience, having competed there for the last three years. His best result was ninth last time out.

Raikkonen could compete in Finland, as the event runs the week after the Hungarian GP at the start of the Formula 1 season’s summer break.

Lotus is, however, likely to be understandably reluctant to let Raikkonen compete in Finland, having lost its star driver Robert Kubica when he crashed a Skoda Fabia S2000 ahead of the start of the 2011 season.

Raikkonen said: “I’d like to do Rally Finland this season as it fits with the calendar but you’ll have to ask the team if it fits in my contract.”

Raikkonen, whose best WRC result was a fifth place in Turkey in 2010, admitted the WRC was tougher than he expected ‘ but said he would be back.

He added: “I knew [rallying] was tough as I’d done some before but it’s different at the highest level. I knew it wouldn’t be easy. Of course, I wanted to do better. But I’m not finished. I want to go back, whether for my career or after I don’t know.

“Formula 1 and rallying are two completely different sports. In rallying everything is different. Okay, you have the pace notes but you don’t know for sure what’s around the next corner.”

ALR 2010 Video Exclusive

From KimiRaikkonen.com 

Download (mp4 – 45MB)

Click here to view more pictures from the recent photoshoot in Finland
(Photographer: Vesa Koivunen)


ALR 2010: Raikkonen finishes 58th overall, 2nd in category

From Autosport.com | Citroen-WRC.com | Rallybuzz.com

Kimi Raikkonen enjoyed a trouble-free run through the second and
final day of the Arctic Rally to reach the finish in his first event in a
Citroen WRC car.

Any hopes of a result for the Red Bull-backed Citroen Junior team
driver went out of the window when he crashed off the road for 30
minutes on the second stage yesterday, but the 2007 Formula 1 world
champion said he was happy with the progress he made through today’s six

"Things didn’t exactly get off to the best start as we went off the
road during the second stage," said Raikkonen. "But luckily there was no
mechanical damage and I was able to continue in the rally.

"From there it got a lot better for me and we were much more
consistent. We put a few more kilometres under our belt, which was vital
to help us continue learning the C4 WRC. As well as being pleased by
our performances I was also pleased by the way we were able to work with
the team. We developed our set-up in the right direction and now we are
going to continue our work in order to arrive in Sweden in the
strongest possible position."

Citroen team manager Benoit Nogier was pleased with how Raikkonen
recovered after his accident. The Finn was within 0.8s per kilometre of
fellow Citroen driver Dani Sordo’s pace.

"He was quickly able to put his mishap at the start of the rally
behind him and get to the end of a complex event, whilst improving at
the same pace as Dani," said Nogier.

Kimi Raikkonen put in an impressive performance, despite crashing on the first day, with a string of second fastest stage times throughout the event.

This was Raikkonen’s first time driving the Citroen C4 WRC in
competitive conditions and without yesterday’s crash, he would have
finished 6 minutes behind Sordo.

Raikkonen’s co-driver Kaj Lindstrom commented after SS9: "The
difference to Dani is now 0.9 seconds per kilometre.

"We know where the difference comes from, therefore it’s a relief. It
would be different if you had to think to yourself that you are going
damn fast but still be behind, that would be worrying.

"We are still setting the car up so Kimi doesn’t yet have 100%
confidence in how it behaves. It affects the way we go into corners. We
are braking early when there is ice because we don’t want to do anything
stupid, that’s where the differences in time come from. The notes will
also improve once we see how fast we can go," Lindstrom added to MTV3.

Kimi Raikkonen commented at the finish: "Once we get the car the way
we want it, it will be quite easy to go faster. I don’t think that it
will be terribly difficult to drive faster when I know myself that the
car is not going the way I want it to.

"This is the fifth rally for me so it’s not really something to worry
about. I learned quite a lot and it will be much better for Sweden. The
main thing was that we were able to get some kilometres behind us. It
doesn’t matter that we finished in a lowly position," he added.

Arctic Lapland Rally 2010 Results

1. Dani Sordo/Marc Marti (E) Citroen C4 WRC 1:38.29,1 (1. A18)

2. Kosti Katajamäki/Lasse Hirvijärvi (FIN) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X

3. Jarkko Miettinen/Mikko Lukka (FIN) Skoda Fabia S2000 +7.16,1

4. Juha Salo/Mika Stenberg (FIN) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X +8.06,9

5. Kristian Sohlberg/Peter Flythström (FIN) Subaru Impreza WRX STI N15

6. Ari Vihavainen/Antti Piira (FIN) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX +9.40,6

7. Atte Alanen/Pasi Hedman (FIN) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX +9.44,5

8. Tommi Luostarinen/Risto Pietiläinen (FIN) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX

9. Jukka Ketomäki/Kai Risberg (FIN) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X +10.45,8

10. Marko Ipatti/Kari Kajula (FIN) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX +10.46,9

Kimi’s engineer praises his work

Courtesy of Nicole

Cedric Mazenq ja Kimi Räikkönen (Kuva: GEPA pictures/Tony Welam/Red
 Bull Photofiles)

Kimi Räikkönen’s race
engineer in Citroen’s junior team, Cedric Mazenq, is grateful for Kimi’s
very detailed feedback when it comes to setting up the rally car.

Räikkönen himself is used to setting up the car into every small detail
in F1.

"He sees many details because he is used to doing a detailed work in
F1. He can help the team to improve the car," Mazenq told MTV3 of the
first impression he got about Räikkönen.

Citroen-team offered several different setups for the Arctic-rally that
Räikkönen could try out so that the Iceman gets experience of what kind
of setups are the best for him.

"This rally was a test for Kimi. It’s a continuance of the test we
drove in Jyväskylä last week. This rally’s goal was to find the setups
he could begin with in Sweden’s rally," Mazenq emphasises in the
Arctic-rally’s service park.

Arctic-rally’s purpose was to make a car for Kimi that he could drive as
easily as possible.

"For him the most important thing in the beginning is that he learns to
trust the car. This is a whole new world for him. We will do our best
to help him learn about the car, routes and pace notes. There is a lot
of differences between rally and F1 but he has taken this with an open
mind," Mazenq tells.

"Räikkönen seventh or eighth in WRC rally”
Courtesy of Leijona

MTV3’s rally-expert Tommi Tuominen estimates that based on the
Arctic-rally Kimi Räikkönen has a chance to reach last of the points in
WRC rally.

Points are distributed for the race’s eight best drivers.

"Kimi was consistently one second slower per kilometer compared to Dani
Sordo. In my opinion that is very good pace," Tuominen judges
Räikkönen’s performance.

If Kimi loses the same one second per kilometer in a WRC-race, it will
accumulate in a 320 km long rally to little over 5 minutes difference to
Sordo. Difference to the top is even bigger because Sordo loses to the
top-drivers in WRC-rally a couple of tenths per kilometer.

"With that you are competing for a world championship point, even two.
In Sweden Kimi can drive in his first rally for a WC-point. It is not
that far away," Tuominen estimates.

Tuominen followed Räikkönen’s driving on Saturday in Jyrhämäjärvi’s
special stage.

"There was this kind of double crossing at midway of the stage. You
could see a clear difference in driving compared to Sordo. Sordo braked
and then went through with throttle and then a small acceleration and
brake and again throttle. Kimi had more of these kinds of executions in
these two curves, Tuominen told about what he saw."

Kimi’s manager: Rally is very, very different
Courtesy of Leijona
Steve Robertson, kuva: Heikki Saukkomaa/Lehtikuva

"I must say that for me this is very, very different. The F1 paddock is
completely different than here. This is of course not WRC rally yet. I’m
waiting to get to those races," Robertson said to MTV3.

Robertson highlight that Räikkönen could have continued in F1 if had

"Transferring to rally was Kimi’s decision. We had opportunities to
make a deal with a couple F1-teams after he quit at Ferrari but that
didn’t happen. Kimi made it very clear that if he doesn’t get into
particular F1-teams he wants to investigate other options. We got a good
chance from Red Bull and Citroen in rally and Kimi announced that he
wants to do it."

Räikkönen’s next years series decision is going to be affected by the
experiences in rally in the beginning of the year and the the situation
on free driver places in F1.

"Kimi will look at how things progress in WRC rally until the middle of the
season. Then we look what options there are open in F1. If he likes the rally, then he will continue there. If he continues in the WRC
series, is championship a long-term goal," Robertson says.

Cold ride for Robertson

Courtesy of Leijona

Kimi Räikkönen’s manager Steve Robertson arrived from his home Dubai,
which had 28 degrees of heat, to the arctic cold Lapland. He got a cold
ride also from his protégé’s initial difficulties in Lapland-rally.

What did it feel like when you heard that Kimi had driven out?

"We have to remember that this is Kimi’s first day in his rally-career.
When you go to an entirely new class – like from F1 to rally – everyone
certainly understand better after this how different it is – from
driving style onwards."

"Kimi knows how much work it is to understand notes and make them in
the best way. It’s a map where he now navigates. He has all the
experience from F1 but it doesn’t help when you must suddenly do notes
to places which experienced drivers have gone through already thousands
times. It is not easy when there is no baseline to compare with."

"Kimi is certainly a natural talent in every way but it takes its time
that he starts to understand the rally-world completely. And it doesn’t
help that he’s a F1 champion. That’s why he is all the time in the
spotlight and he can’t hide anywhere when he’s trying to adapt to these
challenges. Kimi needs time but let’s wait when he adjusts his own
things. I’m certain that he will become super-competitive by the middle
of the season and he is an entirely different Kimi than he is now,"
Robertson assured

But what if these kind of crashes happen again?

"Everything doesn’t always to according to plans. It’s not easy for
Kimi, but the learning phase has to be gone through. But it’s certain
that this kind of set-back does not make Kimi any less determined about
the fact that he will become very competitive also in WRC,"
Robertson concluded.

Mark Arnall: F1 regulations changed to Kimi’s disadvantage last season.

Courtesy of Nicole

"The driver’s weight was important in F1 because of the KERS drvice. We
did a lot of work to make Kimi smaller because he was 2-3 kg overweight
after KERS was put in. Some bigger drivers had even more difficulties," Kimi’s trainer told MTV3.

In rally Räikkönen is weighed together with Kaj Lindstrom.

"The minimum weight is 150 kg. We are a little above it. We are more or
less where we should be," Arnall said.

"Driving rally is more easier on Kimi because he doesn’t have to put up
with the same G-forces as in F1. The driving position is quite
different so the muscles work in a different way. We will change the
training according to which parts work more than before and which less,"
Arnall tells.

"In rally you sit in the car more than in F1 with pace notes and
transitions. The rally car bumps the driver up and down more than a
F1 car. That kind of bumping strains the lower back," Arnall continues.





ALR 2010 – Day 1 Result

From Autosport.com

Kimi Raikkonen has made it to the end of the opening day of the
Arctic Rally in Finland, but the former Ferrari star has set his sights
firmly on improving his pace tomorrow.

The Red Bull Citroen Junior Team driver suffered a fraught morning on
the Rovaniemi-based event after crashing on the second stage, where he
dropped more than half an hour in a ditch.

Citroen fixed his C4 WRC at the ensuing service allowing the 2007
Formula 1 champion a clear run through the afternoon’s three stages. Due
to his morning shunt, his overall position in the Finnish Rally
Championship event has not yet been clarified.

Raikkonen’s co-driver Kaj Lindstrom said: "The afternoon has been
good. Kimi is back on top of the car after the problem this morning.
We’ve been just under a second per kilometre slower than Dani [Sordo],
who’s leading the event. The focus for me tomorrow will be to get that
gap down to half a second per kilometre."

Raikkonen, who was second quickest to Sordo on all three of this
afternoon’s stages, made adjustments to the C4 WRC at service ahead of
the final stage in northern Finland this evening. He adjusted the
suspension on the car to assist turn-in to corners, while also working
to help with traction at the back of the car.

Sordo remains clear at the head of the field.

"It’s been good," he said. "I’m driving the car at about the same
sort of pace I would drive during a test. Sometimes, when the road is
nicer and I have some more confidence, I am pushing a little bit more.
It’s good, though, I’m enjoying it."

There are six further stages tomorrow, with three of those repeated.

Kimi Räikkönen took the blame on himself for driving out during the second stage.
Courtesy of Nicole

"I heard the note wrong and we drove into the snow bank because of it,"
Räikkönen admitted to MTV3.

It cost Kimi about half an hour.

"There was a tree, about as thick as a leg, and we went through it.
Those things happen. That’s why we came here, so that we could screw up everything that can be screwed up and learn
from that. So that we wouldn’t have to do the same mistakes in the
upcoming races," Räikkönen said.

On the dark stage Räikköen had problems with visibility.

"It was difficult because it was snowing so I didn’t see well. Our
lights were a bit too high."

"On one stage the crossroad went a bit far and we had to back."

Räikkönen has been about one second per kilometer behind Dani Sordo on
stages without problems.

"I see it myself, that I pump up quite a lot and hustle this and that
but the times are pretty OK. I think it will start to go better. I could
probably go faster if I would drive seriously but the main thing is
that we could learn all different things. We can destroy this car now,"
Kimi said.

Rami Räikkönen blamed Kimi for his own crash because he used Kimi’s pace notes from last year.

"It was Kimi’s note from last year, left 6. It wasn’t left 6. It was a
pretty optimistically put left 6," Rami said.

"Kimi can blame himself for the car’s condition," he joked.

Rami Räikkönen’s Fiat car rolled over three times.

"I had a speed of 172 km/h," Rami said.

The window from the driver’s side was broken and Rami got a cut in his
nose. He had to drive a long way without his window in -15 degrees.

"100km without a window," Rami said.

Does the car have bad karma when Kimi drove out the same way in Jyskälä?

"Well, let’s see how it goes tomorrow," Rami grinned.


Check out some more close-up footage here and here.

Arctic Lapland Rally 2010; Friday in Rovaniemi

crashes on Arctic Rally

From WRC.com

Finland’s 2007 Formula One champion Kimi Raikkonen has crashed on his
first competitive event driving for the Citroen Junior World Rally Team.

Raikkonen was placed second overall in the Arctic Lapland Rally when his
car left the road and crashed into a tree on the event’s second stage,
the 23km Aittajärvi.

Kimi and co-driver Kaj Lindstrom were
unhurt in the incident, but their C4 World Rally Car sustained damage to
its right-hand front corner. With help from spectators the pair
eventually got the car back on the road and underway again, but the
episode cost them more than 20 minutes and could bring an end to their

The team is hoping that once the car is repaired, Raikkonen will be able
to continue in today’s competition, or re-start on Saturday.

Raikkonen and Lindstrom are tackling the winter event, the opening round
of the Finnish championship, as a warm-up before their WRC campaign
kicks off in Sweden on 11 February.

It is the first competitive outing for the duo in the Citroen C4 World
Rally Car they will campaign this season. However it’s not a new event
for the pair, who made their rally debut together there in 2009,
finishing 13th in a Fiat Abarth Grande Punto S2000.

Before the crash, Raikkonen had got off to a good start. In perfect
snowy conditions, and in a temperature of minus 20 degrees Celsius, he
recorded the second fastest time though Friday’s opening stage, the
11.27km Rantasipi Pohjanhovi / Mäntyvaara. The only man to beat him – by
a margin of 5.5sec – was his fellow Citroen C4 driver, Dani Sordo, who
is also using the event as a pre-season test.

After two stages, Sordo, now the sole World Rally Car driver in the
predominantly Group N field, leads the rally by 26.1sec from the
Estonian, Ott Tanak.

Kimi able to continue rally

Organisers initially reported that Raikkonen was out of his
first competitive rally in his new Citroen C4 WRC. But Raikkonen and co-driver Kaj Lindstrom then summoned the help of
spectators to return to the C4 WRC to the road and continued to the end
of the test, albeit 31 minutes slower than rally leader and fellow
Citroen driver Dani Sordo.

Raikkonen then drove through the third stage and has now made it back
to the service area in Rovaniemi, although the Red Bull driver incurred
time penalties getting to stage three.

The Citroen Racing team replaced the radiator and oil cooler along
with bodywork at the front and rear of the C4 WRC in the 20-minute
service. Raikkonen left service seven minutes late, which is expected to
add a further 1m10s of penalties to his overall total.

Lindstrom said: "We went off the road and lost some minutes in the
stage and then some penalties for arriving late."

Reason of crash
Courtesy of LadyFeanor

really?!?"The reason of the crash was because Kimi heard or interprented Kaj’s
notes wrong: the turn had been marked with the note "three", but Kimi
had reacted like it would have been "five". Because of this, they
arrived to the turn with way too much speed."

(Follow the latest news and live timings in the KRS forum)

Kimi: It was my own fault
Courtesy of Leijona

"The place wasn’t difficult, it just went out of control. The car was
stuck from the bottom to a snowbank and it didn’t move anywhere. First I tried with Kaj with our own shovels for 15 minutes, but then there came people
with huge shovels and the car was moved".

Because the car remained technically intact, will Räikkönen continue the
rally in testing spirit.

"We will continue the race, it is nice to drive the car and everything
works well."

Press Conference (YLE)

Translations courtesy of Leijona

Interviewer (I): Kimi Räikkönen, your career’s
first WRC-race ahead of you, be honest, are you nervous at all?

Kimi (KR): I don’t know, I’m not nervous but of course you don’t really
know what to expect. I’ve driven a couple of rallies but with a little
bit different equipment. It’s fun to see how we do.

I: There has been experts speculating a lot about what Kimi can reach,
but what does the driver say himself?

KR: Well I don’t have any information on that since we have not driven
at all against anyone. Today we drove with Sordo for the first time the
same stint and with the same car but there is still a lot to be learnt,
especially doing notes and listening to notes is the most difficult that
you dare to drive with them as fast as you can.

I: What kind of show is the Iceman going to put up [for the reporters
and spectators]?

KR: (laughs) Well let’s see, like I said it is pretty difficult to
predict anything and of course we haven’t had the chance to drive with
the car that much but it’s a different thing when you have to go fast on
the race right away. And there’s not so much experience with this car,
last year we have driven stints but they’re not on top of memory so we
were at the same position last year when we could drive a little bit
before the race. Of course some more testing would help but let’s see
what happens and let’s try to stay on the road and get kilometres under
the belt and improve the pace.

I: Sebastien Loeb mentioned on one of his interviews that Kimi Räikkönen
in 2011 as team-mate would be an interesting alternative. How do you

KR: (laughs) Well it’s pointless to think what happens next year when we
haven’t driven any kilometres in races yet and there is time to happen
all kinds of stuff within this year. But like I said let’s do our best
and see if the pace is enough and that will give some kind of direction
on what will happen next year.

Kimi suprises: snow doesn’t fit the Iceman!

Kimi Räikkönen doesn’t enjoy the wintry conditions at least not behind a
rally car.

"I have driven the most in snow with a rally car but in my opinion snow
is the most difficult surface. There you have to be pretty accurately
on the clean driving lane because otherwise there will be a lot of
action. On snow it is the most difficult to do notes and keep the car on
the road," Räikkönen admits to MTV3.

In Arctic-rally, which is driven in Rovaniemi’s snowy roads on Friday
and Thursday, Räikkönen’s WRC-car has wider tires than the N-group’s
drivers’, which makes Räikkönen’s job difficult since the WRC-tires
won’t fit the narrow lanes properly at the special stage that is driven
for the second time.

The WRC-series start at the middle of February at Sweden’s snow but
Räikkönen is waiting to get to other surfaces already.

"I have driven one rally on sand and I’ve tested there somewhat. On
tarmac and sand you can search for driving lanes a little bit. Tarmac is
certainly natural for me. There you can read [the road] with your eyes

In WRC the tarmac-rallies are placed on the second half of the season.

"Fortunately there is a couple of races driven before the
tarmac-rallies come. If we would have learnt something before that," Kimi

"Räikkönen’s win would be something unbelievable"

Kimi Räikkönen’s team-mate in Citroen, Daniel Sordo, doesn’t believe
that Räikkönen will reach wins in this years WRC-series.

"If Kimi wins this year a race in WRC-rally, it will be something
unbelievable. Maybe he can reach the top 6 rank," Sordo says to MTV3.

On Friday and Saturday in Finnish Championship rally Räikkönen has
instead a full possibility even for a win because only Sordo is driving a
fresh WRC-car in Rovaniemi in addition to Raikkonen.

"If Kimi wins here, then he wins. It would be a good start for him. I
will however try to win this rally. He has a good chance because he has
experience from last year and the rally is driven on snow," Sordo says.

Sordo doesn’t yet know Räikkönen’s strengths.

"Kimi is a new acquaintance for me. I don’t know where he is as his
fastest. Maybe he will do really well also with a WRC-car but he might
have problems with the notes. As long as he gets some experience from
them, he is of course really fast."

Read how Raikkonen compares his cars

Under Arctic-rally Kimi Räikkönen compared his current Citroen C4
WRC-car to his last year’s rally-car which was Super 2000 -class’ Fiat
Abarth Grande Punto.

In WRC-Citroen there is 315 horsepower turbo-engine whereas in Super
2000-car there is a 280 horsepower engine.

"In WRC-car there is a much better chassis and more power but you can’t
feel the extra speed because the car is that much better to drive.
WRC-car stays on the road more easily and goes better in places which
feel fast for S2000 when there is jumps and bumps. Althought the speed
increases, you don’t feel that much quicker," Kimi analyzed to MTV3

It’s Rally Time People!

From Heikki Kulta at TS.fi | Translation courtesy of Nicole

Tunturi rally’s – or more EU-wise Arctic Lapland
Rally – feelings are more high than usual at the eve of the rally.
Daniel Sordo and Kimi Räikkönen will participate in the traditional
national rally as outsiders and attract a huge international interest.

"The world will go crazy over this," rally-boss Heikki Poranen sums it

Wednesday’s snow storm put all the organisers against the wall. Yet
Räikkönen and Kaj Lindström managed to finish their note work.

Just like last year all possible accomodation was sold out already in
the beginning of December. Last year there were over 10,000 spectators.

Räikkönen’s first official rally as a rally driver is something that
interests all motorsport-quarters.

Räikkönen and Lindström had a chance to test Citroen’s C4 WRC cannon for
three days and they drove all and all about 400 km.

"Of course there aren’t too many tests for Kimi at this point of his
career. We got a positive feeling about them. We learned a lot about the
car and saw how the setups work. We got it so that it fit Kimi’s hand
and that was the main thing," Lindström said.

Räikkönen started with Sebastien Loeb’s basic setups for Norway’s rally
in 2008 and he took it from there to the direction he wanted.

"Tunturi-rally is only a test for Sweden. The reason why we wanted to
go to Tunturi was that we could test how much more we can perform with
this car compared to last year’s Fiat in the same place," Lindström told.

"The tests were always good in rally but the race itself will educate
you in a completely different way. The way we think in rally is
completely different from the way they think in F1. In F1 you learn by
testing and practising the track’s every single corner in a certain way.
In rally you have to look for a compromise in testing so that it will
work properly in different places and conditions."

Driving with Sordo will offer Räikkönen a challenging comparison.

"Sordo’s pace will show the speed you have in WRC. Dani is usually 3rd
when two guys are going even faster. It’s important for us to get
driving experience. In rally we climb up these stairs slowly but when we
put our helmets on we will always do our best."

Lindström: "That guy sure knows how to drive a car!"

Kimi’s co-driver Kaj Lindström knows best what kind of a steering wheel-man Räikkönen is in a
rally car.

"That guy sure knows how to drive a car. When you have drove F1 with
the powers Kimi has, these WRC-cars’ 350 horsepowers aren’t from a that
different world. That won’t be a problem. But when you can’t remember
every place in rally you have to make pace notes and drive according to

So first Kimi has to:

a) learn

b) understand

c) drive according to the notes.

"Kimi will do it well but he still has to find that 100% trust before
the job works completely," Lindström summed up.

http://img27.imageshack.us/img27/5543/evenstarsays.png The time has finally arrived, Kimi is in
Rovaniemi for the Arctic Lapland Rally! Today was the shakedown as all
cars arrived for scrutineering, including Kimi’s brother Rami who will
be joining in on the fun starting tomorrow.
Don’t forget to check out the pictures and join in the
forum fun to follow the rally closely over the weekend.

Arctic Lapland Rally receives an outstanding
interest from the media!

From arcticrally.fi 

Arctic Lapland Rally has received the most outstanding interest from the
media during its history of 45 years from both national and
international press. Altogether 176 reporters and photographers have
accredited from 9 different countries with 41 reporters from abroad. In
addition, the Arctic Rally media center is constantly receiving requests
from all around the world. The main point of interest is of course the
battle between Kimi Räikkönen and Daniel Sordo as they race with equal
cars in the snowy landscape of Lapland. Kimi started off with a test
drive at 2 pm from an honor road of the media. The test drive of
Räikkönen had been smooth and energetic.

Kimi Finishes Arctic Shakedown
From Autosport.com

"I don’t have any special target," said Raikkonen at the pre-rally
press conference in Rovaniemi. "This is just for learning. We will just
drive and see how we are. There are many things to find out."

According to his co-driver Kaj Lindstrom, Raikkonen’s biggest
challenge will be learning to use pace notes: "You need the confidence
to trust and commit to the notes," he said. "This is where we will
improve most. But I have no doubt that Kimi has the speed."

Raikkonen completed yesterday’s shakedown stage without any problems,
taking just two runs through what will be his final preparation before
his inaugural rally in the Citroen.

Raikkonen and Sordo will face little opposition on the event, as the
overwhelming majority of entrants are driving Group N machinery. The
opening stage of the rally gets underway at 12:23 (local time) today.
The first car is due to enter parc ferme after leg one at 21:12 tonight.

The conditions for the event are perfect, with temperatures hovering
around -20C and snow still falling.

Watch this video of Sordo and Raikkonen rolling out their camps for the shakedown, courtesy of Jarno Siivola. And there is also a seven minute interview with Kimi in Finnish from YLE:


A Chat With Kimi: Rally Replaces Kimi’s Will To Win

From Heikki Kulta at TS.fi | Translation courtesy of Nicole

Kimi Räikkönen’s debut with Red Bull Citroen’s
WRC car has attracted 170 media people to Rovaniemi. As many as there
were when Ferrari and McLaren presented their cars this week.
On Thursday night Räikkönen spent over an hour interviewed first by the
tv and after that by the press people.

In F1 you said that you will always drive for victory? Is it possible
this year in rally?

"No and that’s for sure. There are pretty tough drivers out there and
they have raced for many years the same rallies. They remember quite a
lot from the stages and know what to do where. Like I said, you have to
learn a lot before you get experience and can start improving your pace,"
Räikkönen says.

So this new challenge with a WRC car will replace his will to win this

What kind of expectations do you have from Sweden’s rally?

"Everything is new to me so first of all I have to be patient. It’s
difficult to say what to expect when I haven’t raced with this car.
We’ll see in Sweden how it goes. It’s useless to say anything beforehand
when there are so many things that can go wrong," Räikkönen said.

Sordo can’t afford to lose

On Thursday Räikkönen got some comparison to Daniel Sordo’s times when
the duo drove the same stages with the same cars.

"Tunturi-rally is just a practice for Sweden. It’s difficult to say how
it goes here either. I have so much to learn in many things so the
result doesn’t mean anything to me in this race. You will see our pace
in Sweden."

Sordo has drove in even colder conditions in Norways. Tunturi is his 6th
snow rally. How badly will it hurt if the 3rd overall in WRC would lose
to Räikkönen right from the beginning?

"Kimi is undoubtly fast but we try to go faster. If Kimi is faster it’s
not a good thing for me," Sordo thought.

There will be enough testing

Räikkönen had time to test for three days with Citroen before the races
start. If there is need for it, can you test as much as you want?

"Of course there are some limitations. It depends on so many things,
what kind of contracts who has and who pays what. I’m not even sure what
the regulations say but I think you can test pretty freely in WRC.
Other teams test, others don’t," Räikkönen said.

Räikkönen denied many times the claims that he wouldn’t have been
motivated in F1 tests.

"Everyone can have their own view even if I wouldn’t even know about
the whole thing. The truth is that I have never had anything against any
test where you try new parts and new things. It’s a different thing if
you just drive 600 km per day just to try if the car can take it without
Kimi assures.

Brothers as

Big brother Rami Räikkönen will drive in Tunturi in Kimi’s old car Fiat
Abarth Grande Punto. Now the brothers compete on rally paths for the
first time.

"It’s still my car but when Rami wanted to try rally and has been doing
it for a longer time as a hobby I thought why not?"

Own pace notes to polish

So at what stage will the widely discussed Räikkönen’s practice to make
pace notes take place? How much do you trust the notes Kaj Lindström
gives you?

"I trust in them because I have made them myself. There are many
things. Of course I trust what Kaitsu says when I have made them myself
and he has so much experience that if I would have made them totally
senseless, he would have mentioned about it already when we made them.
There won’t be that kind of a mistake. It’s more about the driver
listening properly to the notes so that he doesn’t make an error because
of not listening."

"There is a lot to learn so that you can make good notes in a good
place and precisely understand how fast you can drive there. Easily it
goes so that if you can’t describe it well enough it means that you
can’t drive as fast as you should."

A year in rally is not an obstacle for
coming back to F1

Did you look at Ferrari’s new F10 car from the internet?

"I have seen the car. It’s hard to say anything based upon pictures. I
guess they will start testing it next week. You see it then. It looked a
lot like it looked last year ago too. Nothing terribly different,"
Räikkönen summed up.

Do you still have a burn for a comeback to F1?

"I have no contract with anyone for year 2011. Of course a lot depends
on what happens and where. I guess I have a long year ahead of me and
you can never know what is going to happen."

Will this year be wasted if you decide to go back to F1?

" It’s not wasted in any way. I always do my best. In the final games
this was the best option of all options for this year. That’s why I
drive rally now."

First Interview as Rally Driver; Citroen Arctic Test

From Citroen-Wrc.com | Courtesy of TaniaS


Raikkonen: "I had never driven an F1 car at -25°C!"
From Autohebdo.fr

Q: You start your first
season in rallying. Do you discover a different appearance in WRC compared to

KR: "These are totally different disciplines. Here it is -25°C
during testing. I had never driven an F1 car at -25°C! In the F1
practice sessions, we loop the same lap all the time. In rally, even if
we stay the same stretch of road conditions change with each pass. There
are more or less snow."

Q: What do you like in the rally?

KR: "I like everything! This is a new challenge for me. This is the
biggest challenge of my racing career. It’s very exciting…"

Q: What do you expect from your first test?

KR: "I started in rallying. We’ll see where we are located in front
of drivers who have several years of experience in the discipline.
Initially, the objective will be to complete the course. I must learn the car before I can attack a little more."

Q: In what area do you feel most comfortable?

KR: "I rolled on all surfaces last season. Perhaps the snow as I
drove in testing and racing. So I have more experience in this field.
But I guess I may have good marks on asphalt. This is the area that I’m
most familiar with."

Q: For a beginner in the rally, the system marks an important job
demands. Is this something that you’ve progressed?

KR: "We’ll use the same system as last year. It worked very well.
With experience, we will continue to improve and we’ll see how it works
during the first tests."

Q: What are your ambitions at the start of the Arctic Rally?

KR: "It was my first rally last season. This participation is a good
workout. I’ll be able to travel miles with the car before the first
race of the World Championship. It’s also nice to ride in Finland."

Video Exclusive: Kimi Testing C4 In Finland

Courtesy of Jansse100


This is an excellent clip, a sneak peak into what is soon to be unleashed next weekend! Many thanks to the lucky capturer. KEEP

Photos (RedBull.com)


Update 25th Jan: New video footage from YLE and MTV3



Kimi Testing in Central Finland

From MTV3.fi | Translation courtesy of Nicole

Kimi Räikkönen is testing his WRC car on
Mid-Finland’s snowy roads at the moment. Räikkönen started testing on
Friday and will continue on Saturday.

"Next week he will make pace notes for Arctic Rally and then it takes off," Kimi’s PR manager Riku Kuvaja told.

According to Kuvaja the testing program after Arctic rally hasn’t been determined yet.

Kimi Räikkönen got a good starting number to Arctic Lapland. He is going to take off right after his team mate Dani Sordo (check out the entry list here).

After Sordo and Räikkönen the N-group’s top names will take off
starting with Juha Salo. Räikkönen’s starting number is excellent
unless it’s snowing.

"If there is even 5cm more new snow it’s going to be hopeless
and everybody would want to have five cars in front to clear the road.
If the conditions are ideal the starting order has no meaning," Heikki
Poranen said.

The other A-group cars leave after the N-group. A completely new
class was made up for Räikkönen and Sordo because the other WRC cars
aren’t according to the new international standards.

Rami Joining Arctic Lapland Rally For Fun

From MTV3.fi | Translation courtesy of Nicole | Edited by KRS

Kimi’s big brother Rami Räikkönen has more
rally-background than his little brother Kimi. In 2001 Rami finished third
in the N-group in Finland’s rally. He later achieved national silver in 2003.

Rami will take part in the Arctic Rally with Kimi’s old car Super 2000 Fiat Grande Punto.

"I haven’t rallied other than in some village races. It’s an
interesting project. I went to test the car for one day in Finland
and it is a racing car compared to the other cars I have had."

Rami is going to enjoy the rally without setting any goals.

"I should try to get to the finish line. I haven’t driven pace-note races for a while but I’m going there for my own pleasure to enjoy.
The others can put goals."

Rami might also take part in other rallies this year.

"Let’s see what’s left of the car after Arctic Rally. I haven’t registered to the national serie."

The Räikkönen brothers haven’t at least yet given any rally-tips to each others.

"We have talked about it a few times with Kimi. I think Kimi is waiting eagerly for the rally."

Rami has two sons, Tiitus and Justus, and it’s possible that we will see more Räikkönens in the top of motorsport.

"The boys are four and five this year. The older one has already
drove in karting for a couple of summers. They don’t talk about
anything else than cars and engines. The boys will also go to the north
with us and they are asking all the time ‘When are we going to Lapland?’," Rami smiles.

Sweden Excited Over Kimi’s Arrival

Written by Juhani Roiha, From TurunSanomat.fi | Translation courtesy of Nicole | Edited by KRS

Sweden Rally Fans Are Enthusiastic Over Kimi’s Arrival

Sweden’s car industry is living it’s toughest season in the midst of
the global financial crisis. They have also lacked the best attraction
in rally.

In the middle of this misery the organisers of Sweden’s Rally got a
fax confirming that Kimi Räikkönen will take part in it – on Tuesday
which was the deadline for registration.

"A Superfax that Sweden’s Rally loves – Räikkönen participates in
the rally!”, was the headline the next day in Nya Wermlands-Tidningen’s
magazine in Karlstad where the rally is held.

"The sport couldn’t be better now
that F1 Champion Kimi Räikkönen takes part in Sweden’s Rally on
Värmland’s winter roads," Swedish rally champion Björn Waldegård sums
his feelings up to TS.

67-year old Björn Waldegård became a champion in year 1979. Only one other Swede has achieved the same – Stig Blomqvist in 1984.

Nowadays Waldegård feeds forest deers on his farm in Roslagen,
Norrtälje’s Rimbo, during his freetime. Waldegård actively takes part in rally, as for example the rally commentator
in Eurosport. At the moment Waldegård is busy with Dakar-rally.

"I have never met Kimi Räikkönen but I’m going to look him up in Sweden’s Rally so that I can talk with him," Waldegård says.

Kimi will bring the whole rally sport back to life

According to Waldegård Räikkönen will effectively crush the
prejudice that thinks F1 would be something bigger than rally in
motorsport glory.

"Rally is a fantastic part of motorsport. And now that Kimi
Räikkönen is coming to race in Sweden it is something much more better,"
he says.

According to Waldegård Räikkönen’s participation will bring the
whole rally sport back to life, which according to him is in a pretty
bad shape today.

"A lot has to do with the lack of competition which again has to
do with Marcus Grönholm quitting a few years ago. But he also loves
Sweden’s Rally and will drive there with Räikkönen," Waldegård says.

"It’s completely fantastic that two Finnish motorsportmen – I hope
you forgive my expression – love Sweden in this case almost more than
Finland," Björn Waldegård says.

Autosprint Magazine Interview
Translation courtesy of TaniaS

Q: Kimi, what do you think of the C4
after your first test? How did you feel? He was your very first time
ever driving a World Rally Car…

KR: "The car is very good. I’ve immediately found a great feeling and I
was very impressed by how it reacts to adjustments. Sure, it’s quite
different from any other rally car I had driven before! Even if I
didn’t know it, I enjoyed, I had fun and learned a lot of things."

All the experts have pointed out
that your main problem, apart from that you don’t know the routes, will
be learning to listen to the navigator, establishing with him a proper
system of writing notes…

KR: "I’m constantly learning about the notes and I’m working hard with
Kaj (Lindstrom, the former navigator of Tommi Makinen who’s following
Raikkonen in his rally adventure as a shadow). He has a lot of
experience and knowledge, and so he is a big help for me. It’s
important to have the right notes and I am particularly pleased to have
Kaj by my side helping me. He gives me confidence."

What do you expect for the season
going to begin with the Rally of Sweden? Do you think you can
immediately aim at success or your season will be just to have an

KR: "I’m preparing to face a great challenge for me. I have no experience
of world rallying… Of course I always want to win, but in this case,
you must be realistic: I have no other goal than doing my best. Let me
see where I will be at the end of season!"

After the last year races what do you think of Kimi Raikkonen as a rally driver?

KR: "Better to leave to others the comments on my performances."

Have you got a model to follow among the big rally drivers of yesterday and today?

KR: "No, I haven’t a model to follow. But I have the same respect and
consideration for the top rally drivers like that I have for the best
drivers in F1."

What kind of opportunities are the participation of Kimi Raikkonen and, even more occasionally, of Valentino Rossi, for rally?

KR: "For this sport they are a good thing. And I’d love to see Valentino racing in the WRC."

The question that everyone would ask: why did you go from F1 to rally?

KR: "I’ve always been interested in competing in the WRC soon or later,
and at some point in my career I was offered this excellent opportunity
by the Red Bull. So, why not?"

Is your choice permanent or it may
be that one day we’ll see you again in F1? Fernando Alonso said at the
Ferrari meeting at Madonna di Campiglio you’re a natural talent and it
is a shame to see you go away…

KR: "I have not closed the doors to F1. I spent nine years of my life in
this sport and I really have some good memories. I will make a decision
in the middle of this year. Then I’ll decide whether to stay and
compete in the rally or return to F1 Grand Prix."

Kimi’s First Citroen C4 Test Done

From WRC.com | Autosport.com | MTV3.fi  

WRC convert Kimi Raikkonen got his first taste of the Citroen C4 WRC
on Tuesday, at a private gravel test track close to the team’s
workshops in Satory, France.

This initial shakedown allowed the
Finn to start getting used to the car that he will drive in the 2010
FIA World Rally Championship.

With only a few weeks left before
this year’s World Rally Championship season gets underway in Sweden on
12 February, Raikkonen has already started his preparations in earnest.

The 2007 Formula 1 World Champion, and his co-driver Kaj
Lindstrom, visited Citroën Racing’s facilities in Versailles on Tuesday
for seat fittings and to meet team personnel.

The Finn was then
able to drive the C4 WRC on a gravel test track within the Satory
complex. Having covered around 50 kilometres, the latest Citroen Junior
Team signing appreciated the chance to familiarise himself with his new

"I very much enjoyed meeting the team properly for the
first time," he said. "It was good to try out a few different things; I
was very interested to see how the car reacted when you changed some of
the settings. Now, I’m really keen to get back behind the wheel of the
C4 again!"

Raikkonen’s first competitive outing will be on 28
January. In order to prepare for the forthcoming Swedish Rally, the
Finn is scheduled to compete on the Arctic Lapland Rally.




Download                                                               Download

Loeb: Welcome Räikkönen!

From MTV3.fi

Rally’s six-time champion Sébastien Loeb welcomes Kimi Räikkönen to the Citroën team.

Räikkönen will be competing in the coming season in Citroën’s Junior
Team. Citroën’s factory team’s first driver Loeb is waiting for the
F1-star’s first season in WRC with excitement.

"It will be interesting. This is an entirely new sport for him so
the beginning can be quite difficult. There is a lot to learn but
taking account his skill-level I believe the adaptment will happen
pretty quickly," Loeb said in French Sports.fr-site’s interview.

There will be three tarmac rallies in the coming WRC-season. Loeb
doesn’t believe though that Räikkönen is that strong due to his
background in track-racing.

"I don’t think he will do better in tarmac just because he comes
from Formula One, especially because Finns are usually good at gravel.
Any way, it’s a pleasure to welcome him to the team," Loeb continued.

Recent Gossip & Kimi at Citroen HQ in Versailles

FIA chairman Jean Todt more thrilled about Kimi than Schumi

MTV3.fi  | All Translations courtesy of Leijona

FIA’s new chairman, and previously Ferrari team boss, Jean Todt thinks Kimi Räikkönen’s transfer to WRC rally is the years most remarkable motorsport-news.

Todt thinks that even seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher’s
comeback to F1 doesn’t compete with Räikkönen’s transfer to rally.

"For me F1-champion Kimi Räikkönen’s arrival to WRC rally is more
revolutionary than Michael’s comeback! It is a really bold move from
him. How competitive is he compared to special men like Sebastien Loeb,
Mikko Hirvonen and Dani Sordo? It will be interesting," Todt said in
Luxemburg’s Quotidien magazine interview.

Todt has worked as Schumacher’s team manager in Ferrari and wasn’t particularly surprised by the old champion’s Mercedes contract.

"Having fun by driving motor cycles didn’t seem to be enough for
him, especially when a big team was asking for him. I hope of course
that he reaches to top results," Todt said.

Sutil: I’m proud of my battles with Räikkönen

From MTV3.fi

Force India’s German driver Adrian Sutil thinks it is coincidence that
he has crashed with Kimi Räikkönen in the best races of his F1 career.

The year before the last in Monaco, Sutil was going towards a 4th
place, until Räikkönen crashed into back of his car. Last year in
German GP Sutil was one of the race’s top drivers first driving to 7th
grid position and then climbing as high as second place, but the race
was ruined – once again – with a confrontation with Räikkönen.

"We hit each other couple of times, probably because of coindidence," Sutil said to Indian PTI news agency.

"Coincidence or not, driving against him was always great. He’s a
tough fighter and our sport needs drivers like that. I needed that kind
of competitor because I wanted to test myself against the toughest. I’m
proud of our duels, but of course they could have turned out better for
us," Sutil continued.

Räikkönen hasn’t met his boss yet

From MTV3.fi

Kimi Räikkönen, who drives in Citroën’s Junior Team in WRC rally, will start to prepare for next season’s challenges shortly in Versailles, France.

The F1 champion’s transfer to rally is the best possible PR stunt for the
WRC series and Citroën. This is admitted also by Citroën’s rally boss
Olivier Quesnel.

"Everybody is saying that I did the deal of the century. I am
thrilled about Kimi’s arrival, but to tell you the truth I have never
even met him before. It will happen next week," Quesnel said in French
Endurance’s website interview.

Also Quesnel said once again that he doesn’t have plans to drive Räikkönen in Le Mans 24 hour race with Sebastien Loeb.

A fan’s delight of seeing Kimi in their local Versailles

Kimi is finally getting ready for the WRC this week, with his visit to the Citroen HQ in Versailles, France. He arrived yesterday to get some things prepared for his debut WRC season. It’s always a joy to read a fan’s experience of trying to see or meeting Kimi. It happened to me last year in London at the Ferrari Store opening, it happened to a fan at the Tag Heuer Shop during the Hungarian F1 weekend, and now it might just happen for a French fan called Marilyne, who’d stop at nothing almost! This is her story from yesterday, as posted in the forum.

Posted by Marilyne

He’s here people, he’s here!

Well, I had a great and funny moment, I have not seen him, but rather perceived him! So we went to the Citroen factory near 4.30pm, my boyfriend drove me there.

The factory is located on a road without exit but there was no area to
stay near. You saw all the barrier in the pics I took earlier, so I
went to ask the guard if Kimi was there!

A yound chubby man opened the glass door when I was in front and I was like "hello… huh ..well …huh…" I told him I was a Kimi fan and I asked directly: "is Kimi really here
today, can we come in or else?" He answered me with an amused and
malicious air: "hmmmmmm, yes he is here. But I can’t let you come in". He was funny really! Then I asked if there would be some public event
or something and he answered me that he didn’t know. So I thanked and left. Just to know he was there not that far away I was all happy!

Then I got back in the car and we left a bit away on a car park
alongside that only road and we waited. The night was falling. We
scrutinized inside of the cars which were passing in front of us, like
"could he be in this one?" hihi.

Then we saw a white van passing in front of us with some people inside
but the windows were dark. My boyfriend was telling me he thinks it can be a
car like that with Kimi, and tells me: "do you want us to follow them?" and after
more than a hour waiting we decided to go!

It took us some minutes to go and so we lost the van but finally
arriving in the center of Versailles, we saw it again! That was so
funny really, my man amazed me, reacting and following them, putting
us next to them even at the light stop!

We couldn’t see well in it but sure a man with a white cap, one with a
black hat, and there were maybe 4 or 5 others in the car with the driver.
And then suddenly before the big avenue in front of the castle,
they cut the line left to enter a frontage, we were at the
intersection already so my boyfriend turned left to turn back but there were
many cars and so it took us a bit to come in the frontage behind the
van, in front of a luxury hotel!

When we waited at the intersection, I saw three men getting out of the
car, they waited for their luggages (which were many!) and they came in.

We stopped in front of the hotel and hardly saw inside but finally I
saw passing behind a window under the light a black hat, a nose and
some curls which looked familiar to me! Kimi! He was a bit far away but it was him for sure!

So now I know where he sleeps! I hope he will stay a bit but I will try to go to his hotel at my lunch time tomorrow. That was a funny experience!

Note - This picture is from last year before Rally Finland, not yesterday, haha.

Kimi’s Rally Adventure Starts With A Visit To The Factory

From Heikki Kulta, TurunSanomat.fi | Translation courtesy of Nicole

Kimi Räikkönen’s big WRC adventure starts next week when the 30-year
old Finnish driver pays a visit to Citroen’s factory in France. Making
the seat and the first trial with the Citroen C4 shuttle built for
Räikkönen is in the program.

Räikkönen and Kaj Lindström will drive their first rally with
Citroen on January 28-30th in Rovaniemi when the duo participate as
outsiders to the Arctic Lapland rally. The WRC rally starts two weeks
later in Sweden.

The motorsport world has already been wondering over how Räikkönen
can go to a completely unfamiliar WRC serie with so little experience.
The truth is that Kimi himself is the least worried about it.

Räikkönen doesn’t belong to those drivers who need to sit for five
days in the car just so that they get to know it. As a full-blooded
professional he takes the bull by it’s horns immediately and goes to
check out how far his own pace takes him.

Those who know Räikkönen better praise him, telling he is now more
relaxed than he has ever been during his whole F1 career. Kimi is
practically bursting with enthusiasm now that he gets to go driving

Red Bull owns the F1 team but on the rally-side they are just
Citroen’s close partner. Citroen runs the racing team. Red Bull pays
Kimi’s salary just like Red Bull pays Sebastian Vettel’s and Mark
Webber’s salaries in F1.

First Pictures of Kimi in Red Bull Interview

http://img27.imageshack.us/img27/5543/evenstarsays.png It’s about time, haha! These pictures are taken from the new (and absolutely fabulous) interview of Kimi by RedBulletin.com. You can check out the magazine PDF in German or in English (page 44). Further below is the entire article for those who’d rather read it clearly on the blog. And trust me, you will want to keep re-reading!

Raikkonen: "I’m finding a bit of the young Kimi in me again"
The full interview
From RedBulletin.com

Words by Werner Jessner | Photography by Gian Paul Lozza

The carbon-fibre disc brakes on his Formula One Ferrari have barely cooled down, but already Kimi Raikkonen has moved on to something new: a driver for the very same Red Bull Citroen World Rally team that has just taken Sebastien Loed to his sixth consecutive world title.
    The arrival of Raikkonen is a huge coup for the World Rally Championship: for all his occasionally mute press conference performances, the guy’s a superstar. And while some might question the move from the ‘pinnacle of motorsport’ into a parallel universe of mud and trees and ice and snow rather than lap upon lap of pristine tarmac, the man himself has no doubts: this is a hugely serious attempt on an equally presitgious world series, one which he’ll attack with all the commitment for which he became famed in F1.

So, Kimi, let’s talk dirty. What’s the earliest rally car you can remember?
KR: My brother’s Ford Escort. Of course, as a good Finn, I saw rally care on TV from an early age. I liked Ari Vatanen and Juha Kankkunen’s Peugeot 205 T16s the best. The first rally I actually went to must have been the 1991 1000 Lakes Rally, which Kankkunen won in a Lancia Delta Integrale.

Were rally drivers your childhood heroes?
KR: I didn’t have any childhood heores, I was a fan of the sport, not individual drivers. During my childhood, Kankkunen, for example, was a world-class driver so he could have been an idol. I’ve met him since then. He’s still got a Peugeot 205 at home and a Group B Audi Quattro from the 1980s. He might even lend it to me if I asked nicely.

Was it inevitable that you would end up on the racetrack?
KR: I always wanted to give rallying a shot, but I did get into F1 very quickly [Raikkonen was only 21 when he made his F1 debut, for the Red Bull Sauber team at the Australian GP, scoring a point for sixth place]. So it became difficult to move sideways into rallying, which meant I just had to lump it. I didn’t get the chance until very late – I was almost 30 [Raikkonen competed i the 2009 Rally Finland, in a Fiat Grande Punto Abarth]. I also think F1 helps you as a rally driver and vice versa.

But it would be a bit ungrateful to say that you were biding your time for nine years in F1 and you had to become world champion so that you could ultimately become a rally driver?
KR: That’s just how my career has worked out. Now it’s the right time to go for it with the right people and the right car for however long. I did negotiate with another F1 team for next season, but we couldn’t agree 100 per cent. Then Red Bull came and made me an offer to drive in the WRC for a season. It felt like the right thing to do straight away.

A lot of racing drivers in your position would have just bought themselves a world rally car and had some fun in it. But you’ve joined the Citroen Juniour Team for a whole season where you’ll be up against Sebastien Loeb, the best rally driver in the history of the sport. Haven’t you made things difficult for yourself?
KR: It’s definately the biggest challenge yet. I’ve got to learn everything from scratch. But I want the challenge. I have to get to know the car, the rallies, how to work with my co-driver [Kaj Lindstrom], everything. I’m looking forward to it. And you’ve got to set yourself some competition if you really want to know how good you are. I’ll still be able to drive around the forest in a private rally car.

But when you entered the WRC last year, at the Rally Finland, it was a much more professional effort compared with other well-known converts.
KR: If you’re going to do something, do it with the best team. My car’s been prepared by Tommi Makinen’s team; these guys are super professional. Of course it’s a smaller operation than an F1 team, but they’re professionals. Even though the driver plays a bigger overall role in rallying than in F1, the best driver won’t win in a bad car. So that’s why I wanted an experienced co-driver so at least one of us would know what he was doing. I met Kaj Lindstrom through Tommi and we were ice spies for Chris Atkinson during the 2006 Monte Carlo rally. Kaj is outstanding; he and Tommi were World Champions together. Kaj was also the one to make first contact with Citroen Sport.

Does entering the World Rally Championship feel a bit like it felt when you first test-drove for Sauber F1 in 2000?
KR: Yes, I’m finding a bit of the young Kimi in me again. A world rally car is quicker and tougher than the S2000 car I dove last year on the Rally Finland; it’s 10 times better to driver and has more power. It’s why you can still come out of critical situations. If the Fiat ever went sideways with its non-turbo engine, it was game over.

So what about rolling the car in Finland last year?
KR: It wasn’t because I was going too fast! It was the opposite. The car had already begun falling apart, so I just wanted to get it to the service park. The Fiat definately wasn’t the quickest car in the S2000 class, nor the most stable. My line going into the left-hand turn was maybe 2m off and we turned over.

Why was your line bad?
KR: I was driving with my eyes and not my ears. But in rallying you’ve got to pay 100 per cent attention to what your co-driver says.

Is that something you still have to learn to do?
KR: It is. The driving itself shouldn’t be too much of a problem. If you know the special stage, there’ll hardly be any different usually. What makes the difference is the pacenotes [the co-driver's notes on the road conditions for each stage of the rally] and your trust. That’s my main disadvantage starting out – I only know the Arctic Rally and Rally Finland. I’ve got to work the rest of the events out for myself.

Can you use other crews’ pacenotes?
KR: It’s always better to have your own. If you want to be really fast, you’ve got to have trust. And you’ll never have complete trust in someone else’s notes.

Does it help to follow other drivers’ tracks to get your bearings?
KR: No. There’s no way of knowing what the car in front of you might have done. You’ve got to do what the co-driver tells you.

When was your first roll?
KR: I was 14. I rolled my brother’s Lada. We had a 3km track close to home. Marcus Gronholm [Finland's two-time world rally champion] also trained there. I over-braked the rear axle and rolled twice. The roll-bar [the car's internal safety cage] also broke.

Your brother Rami was seen as a great rallying talent. Does he still drive?
KR: No, he’s a family man now. One year he was runner-up to Mikko Hirvonen [runner-up in the 2008 and 2009 World Rally Championships].

Have your nephews caught the motorsport bug?
KR: Absolutely! There’s only three and four and they already go karting. I’ve bought them a quad bike.

Are you a good co-drver?
KR: No. I’ve been co-driver to Tommi Makinen [four-time World Rally Champion] once. I have complete confidence in him, but I wouldn’t want to repeat the experience. Maybe I’ll sit alongside Load during a test. I don’t think he’ll do the same for me.

Are you expecting a couple of rolls next year?
KR: Of course. Over the course of the WRC there are bound to be a couple of shunts. Everyone makes mistakes in this sport and, as a rule, a mistake usually means you wreck the car. How many cars must Jari-Matti Latvala [WRC winner] and Hirvonen have destroyed before they won their firt world championship rally? The only driver who hasn’t rolled is Loeb. He’s an exception.

Do you think you’ll be more intuitive on tarmac or gravel surfaces?
KR: We’ve been amazingly fast on gravel, but tarmac will probably be more my thing. Snow will be the hardest. Your lines have got to be spot-on in the snow, whereas on tarmac it’s no big deal if you brake a metre too late and have to turn more sharply. You have to be able to read the gravel. On some types of gravel you’ve got incredible grip with rally tyres and on others you haven’t.

What sort of results are you expecting?
KR: The first few rallies are bound to be tough. Until I know how fast the other drivers are, I’m holding back on any personal expectations. I’m sure I won’t manage to keep up with the top four [Loeb, Dani Sordo, Hirvonen, Latvala].

Your team-mate Sebastien Ogier is also seen as a future star.
KR: Yeah, he’s really good. He’s a perfect yardstick to measure up against.

When you look back on your F1 career, is there a single moment you value above all others?
KR: In F1, every lap is more or less the same. It’s more difficult if it rains, but otherwise it soon becomes a routine. In rallying, every corner or hill might be different from what you expected. The most fun I’ve had in recent years was fooling around with friends on snow-scooters, for example. I’d find it difficult to pick a single moment from the last nine years.

How about this as a moment to go down in history? Kimi Raikkonen overtaking Giancarlo Fisichella on the outside at Suzuka on the last lap of the 2005 Japanese GP, to win the race?
KR: Yeah, that was really good.

The 2009 Ferrari must have been really difficult to drive when we see how badly Giancarlo Fisichella struggled when he stepped in for the injured Felipe Massa. Not to mention [Ferrari test driver] Luca Badoer.
KR: The car wasn’t bad. It just didn’t have enough grip. It was hard to driver but I liked the 09 Ferrari more than the 08. I didn’t cope too badly [Raikkonen won the 2009 Belgian GP]. But it made Fisichella age 10 years in two races!

If you couldn’t get a neutrally balanced car, would you prefer oversteer or understeer [a car that has more or less front/rear grip]?
KR: I’ve never liked understeer. How can you push the car if you don’t know whether it’s going to steer? You lose time on a circuit but in rallying, you end up in the trees because you run out of space.

How much communication does motorsport need?
KR: As a driver, there are some things you just can’t communicate. No F1 driver in the world can talk to an aerodynamics engineer on an equal footing because they have completely diffferent levels of understanding. All you can do is tell your race engineer what you’d ideally like. Mechanics are important too but they do what engineer tell them to. So your communication is limited to two or, at most three, people in the team. And then what’s made of your input depends on the team.

In rallying, you’ll sometimes have to work on the car yourself. Do you know know to?
KR: I enjoy it. In Finland, I’ve always repaired my own cars. I tweak my bikes too. There’s nothing wrong with getting your fingers dirty.

Did you foster the ‘Iceman’ image to survive in F1?
KR: No. ‘Iceman’ goes back a long way. In F1, politics gets in the way of the exciting side of things. The atmosphere in rallying is much nicer and there’s a lot less politics involved. It’s must more about how the driver performs.

You’re a celebrity, especially in Finland. Now that you’re moving over into Finland’s national sport – rallying – you probably won’t dare to go out on the streets of Helsinki at all.
KR: I don’t care about that. It can’t be any worse than it already is. I’ve learned to deal with it.

You did military service. What did you find most difficult about it?
KR: The first couple of months were stressful. We were constantly roared at. By the end we were bored and messed around. Apart from military films where everyone’s roaring, getting up early was the worst.

Rally drivers often have to get up early too.
KR: I know. But I had to get out of bed early for F1 sometimes too. It’s part of the job.

What’s your favourite toy during the off-season?
KR: A snowmobile. It’s huge fun tearing around Lapland with friends on one. But Motocross comes close.

What makes a good road car?
KR: Space.

What’s the last sport you’ve tried?
KR: I started climbing last year on the recommendation of my fitness trainer, and it’s fun.

Who’s going to win ice hockey’s Stanley Cup?
KR: The San Jose Sharks.

Who’s going to win snowboarding Olympic gold in the half-pipe?
KR: I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the Finns, but it’ll probably be hard to beat Shaun White.

Who’s going to be the next World Rally Champion?
KR: Loeb or Hirvonen. Loeb.

And MotoGP?
KR: Have the teams changed much? No. So – Rossi.

Formula One?
KR: Hard to say. I don’t know what Ferrari’s plans are. Mercedes will probabaly have a good car, so will McLaren. Red Bull Racing probably will too. So I’m going to have to award the title based on who I like: Sebastien Vettel. He’s so down-to-earth.

Do you have much contact with him?
KR: I know Heikki Kovalainen better. As a rule, I don’t have that much contact with people from F1. Sometimes I play badminton with Vettel. He’s moving to my part of Switzerland so we’ll probably see more of each other.

How interested will you be in F1 if you’re not in an F1 car yourself?
KR: I’ll watch a race on TV every now and then. Maybe I’ll go to the Monaco Grand Prix. I could get an F1 drive again any time, but lots of bad things are happening in F1. Manufacturers are pulling out. Let’s have the same conversation in a year’s time.

Let’s look way into the future. What would an WRC title mean to you?
KR: More than my F1 world championship title. I’m just starting out and I can sense what a long journey it would be to get to that point.

No one’s done it before.
KR: That’s another thing that makes it interesting.

Exclusive Interview: Kimi speaks on leaving F1 and entering Rally…

http://img27.imageshack.us/img27/5543/evenstarsays.png This feature is from the latest Autosport magazine, and it brings what we fans have been longing for in the past few months – Kimi’s thoughts. It is an absolute must-read, some of Kimi’s comments are priceless and very important. Enjoy the read (courtesy of YiNing from our forum).


"Rallying is very relaxed – there’s much, much less politics and bullshit than F1". Sounds like Formula 1 defector Kimi Raikkonen is going to enjoy life in the WRC. Adam Cooper digs a bit deeper…

Kimi Raikkonen has never cared much for the baggage that comes with being a Grand Prix driver: the interviews, the press conferences and the various public relations commitments.

During five years at McLaren and another three at Ferrari he walked a tightrope of political correctness, preferring not to say very much at all rather than trot out soundbites that might come back to haunt him. To some extent, he’s been able to hide under the public ‘Iceman’ persona, and that’s suited him just fine. Get to know him socially, and a very different Kimi emerges. Off-duty with his friends – and that group includes quite a few fellow grand prix drivers – he’s a gregarious and convivial character, someone who has plenty to say.

Now he is embarking on a new chapter in his career, and creating a bit of history as he does so. By walking away from F1 to run a (nearly) full schedule in the 2010 World Rally Championship, he is taking a path that has never been trodden before…

Read: right-click and open images in new window/tab.

The following pages are from F1 Racing magazine, also courtesy of YiNing. Entitled ‘Cracking the Kimi Enigma’, when it could’ve been simply called ‘Criticising the Kimi mould’, it’s
not a very good piece to read. But there are some quotes from Kimi,
like how he "couldn’t breathe" in the paddock and how the place felt
like it was "strangling" him. These are things which need to be read… I’ll let you decide for yourselves. The fourth page is another opinion piece debating whether Kimi still deserves a seat in F1, where Red Bull boss Christian Horner argues yes for Kimi and Damon Hill against. Well, it’s good to know there’s at least one team boss in favour Kimi and whom he hasn’t worked with… yet!

Read: right-click and open images in new window/tab.

Arctic Lapland Rally Confirmed – Warm-up in Citroen C4

From WRC.com

http://krspace.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/cnv00110.jpg?w=300World Rally
Championship convert Kimi Raikkonen will make his competitive debut in
a Citroen C4 on January’s Arctic Lapland Rally – a fortnight before his
2010 WRC campaign kicks off in Sweden.

Based from Rovaniemi, on
the edge of the Arctic Circle, the event, the opening round of the
Finnish championship, has been run for 45 years and is sometimes used
as a test for the winter rallies in the WRC. Previous winners include
former WRC champions Marcus Gronholm, Tommi Makinen and Hannu Mikkola.

made his rally debut on the snowy event earlier this year, finishing
13th in a Fiat Abarth Grande Punto S2000 co-driven by Kaj Lindstrom.
The pair will tackle next year’s edition, which starts on 29 January,
in the same C4 World Rally Car they will use on 12 rounds of the WRC.

to Ferrari until the end of 2009, Raikkonen is limited in what he can
say about his rally programme until the New Year and confirmed the
appearance via a statement on his website.

However speaking
exclusively to wrc.com, Lindstrom felt the Arctic would be invaluable
experience for Kimi, who is yet to drive a Citroen C4 World Rally Car.

said: "Getting the Arctic Rally in our programme was a key factor – we
really wanted to include it as a pre-season test. It’s a rally that
Kimi and I have already done together in the Fiat, so he knows the
stages – more or less – and it will be a good opportunity for him to
build confidence in his driving and the pace notes.

http://krspace.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/3.jpg?w=300"He hasn’t
had the experience of listening to, or working with, pace notes since
rally Finland. As far as I know the route for the Artic this year will
be same as it was last year, so we can use the old notes, and that will
be very useful preparation – both for Sweden and the championship," he

Lindstrom revealed a test in Finland before the Arctic
Rally was also being discussed, to help Raikkonen make the transition
from his Super 2000 Fiat to a turbocharged World Rally Car.

ideal would be to return to the test roads [near Jyvaskyla] we used
before the Arctic and Rally Finland this year," he said. "Kimi knows
those stages well now, so that would be the ideal place to get to grips
with the new car. That’s what we’d like, but at this stage we haven’t
agreed a plan with Citroen. We’ll find out more in the New Year."

Kimi & WRC Citroen Deal Confirmed for 2010

From Autosport.com | & WRC.com

Citroen has announced that Kimi Raikkonen will join its World Rally
Championship line-up in a Red Bull-backed Citroen Junior Team car.

The 2007 Formula 1 world champion will be joined in the Red Bull
Citroen squad by former Junior WRC champion Sebastien Ogier, who
completed an impressive WRC rookie season with the squad last year.

Raikkonen made his top flight rallying debut in an S2000 Abarth at
his home round of the WRC in Finland earlier this year, earning the
respect of the series regulars for the speed with which he adapted to
driving on the stages. He has hinted for many years that he was keen to
pursue a career in rallying after F1, and when he announced last month
that he would take a sabbatical following the breakdown of his talks
with McLaren, the WRC was seen as his most likely destination.

"I always wanted to compete in rally, especially in the World Rally Championship at some point in my career," said Raikkonen.

"Thanks to Red Bull, I have the opportunity to drive the best car of
the series with the Citroen C4. This is a new but very exciting

Speculation has suggested that Raikkonen could return to F1 with Red
Bull after his first WRC season. He confirmed that his Citroen deal
only covered 2010 at present.

"For the moment we have a one-year contract and we will see how it
goes for the future," Raikkonen said. "I am really looking forward to
testing the car and taking the start of the first rally."

Citroen team boss Olivier Quesnel said he was delighted by Red
Bull’s increased involvement, and that the squad had such a strong
Junior line-up in Raikkonen and Ogier alongside factory drivers
Sebastien Loeb and Dani Sordo.

"Red Bull’s commitment and energy are a perfect fit for Citroen’s
ongoing thirst for victory," Quesnel said. "We will continue to count
on Sébastien and Dani to defend our world titles in 2010, and we will
also be prolonging our association with Sebastien Ogier who showed
outstanding potential this year.

"Last but not least, it is with immense joy that we welcome Kimi
Raikkonen to our ranks. We are very proud that he has chosen Citroen.

"In addition to the confirmation of these four crews, we will
hopefully be able to announce other programmes over the coming weeks."

Raikkonen and Ogier will contest 12 of next year’s 13 WRC rounds, but will skip the New Zealand event.

The 2010 WRC Calendar (from RallyBuzz.com)

14 February – Sweden

07 March – Mexico

04 April – Jordan

18 April - Turkey

09 May - New Zealand

30 May - Portugal

10 July - Bulgaria (Saturday finish)

01 August -  Finland

22 August - Germany

12 September - Japan

03 October - France

24 October - Spain

14 November - Great Britain

Hirvonen: Raikkonen Extremely Talented in WRC But Needs More Experience

From Autosport.com

World Rally Championship runner-up Mikko
Hirvonen doubts that Kimi Raikkonen would be an immediate success if he
switched to the WRC next year.

Raikkonen is planning to take a sabbatical from Formula 1 for at
least one season following the end of his negotiations with McLaren
over a 2010 seat.

The Finn has long been interested in rallying and has hinted it
would be his next step after F1. He contested this year’s Rally Finland
in a Super 2000 car and set an impressive pace before crashing.

But Raikkonen’s compatriot Hirvonen thinks the regular WRC drivers’
years of practice on the stages and with driving to pace notes gives
them a huge advantage.

"Kimi is fast and with driving he doesn’t have problems," Hirvonen
told Finnish website Sportti.com. "But preparing to drive with pace
notes is a difficult case for him.

"We WRC drivers have so much more experience, and almost all the
rallies will be unknown to Kimi in advance. It’s difficult to imagine
that Kimi could succeed, at least in his first season."

Hirvonen’s manager Timo Jouhki, who also brought Juha Kankkunen,
Tommi Makinen, Toni Gardemeister and Jari-Matti Latvala to rallying’s
top level, agreed that Raikkonen would need time to get up to speed.

"Kimi is a really talented driver. No other F1 driver has been
driving a rally at that level," said Jouhki. "Rallying, however,
requires so much experience that I basically cannot see him having any
chance in the first year. Rallying is such a difficult sport and
experience counts."

Despite suspecting he might struggle initially, Hirvonen reckons
the chances of Raikkonen appearing in next season’s WRC are high.

"That man does not surprise me in anything," said Hirvonen. "I
would not be surprised if Kimi took a year off, and did for example
five World Championship rallies, or pushed for the whole season."

Solberg: Raikkonen has top five potential

Petter Solberg believes that should Kimi Raikkonen commit to a full
WRC season in 2010 he would adapt quickly to the sport and could
challenge for top five finishes before the end of the year.

who won the World Rally Championship in 2003, has a unique perspective
on the Finn’s potential, having this year driven both a Ferrari F1 car
at the Fiorano test track in Italy and a C4 World Rally Car – the car
Raikkonen is expected to drive – on two rounds of the WRC.

exclusively to wrc.com, Solberg ruled out a WRC victory for Raikkonen
next year but felt his F1 championship winning background would stand
him in good stead.

"With the proper practise planning and testing
I think he will adapt quickly," said Solberg. "He’s a very, very good
driver, and once he’s learned the basics, like how to work with pace
notes, I think he will surprise many people. We’ve already seen how
quick he was in Finland in a Super 2000 car, and if he’s in a decent
World Rally Car next season I think he could finish between third and
fifth on some rallies. The fact is, if you can drive, you can drive."

is confident Raikkonen would cope well with the transition from his
2009 season Ferrari F60 car to a four-wheel drive World Rally Car.
"This year I’ve driven a Formula 1 car and a Le Mans car and it’s the
same as rallying; you have to attack and push," explained Solberg. "You
have to be on the case and you need some balls. I think it’s all about
understanding how to push and Kimi has proved he can do that."

is widely expected to drive a Citroen C4 WRC in 2010, a car which -
along with the Ford Focus RS WRC – Solberg rates highly. "Both the C4
and the Ford work very well are quite easy to drive," he said. "They
are both consistent, predictable handling cars that do the correct
thing – just in slightly different ways. I think he could adapt very
quickly to either of them."

Asked what advice he would offer Raikkonen before his first stage, Solberg said: "Just nail it."