Sweden Rally Fans Are Enthusiastic Over Kimi’s Arrival
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
"Rally is a fantastic part of motorsport. And now that Kimi
Räikkönen is coming to race in Sweden it is something much more better,"
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."
Q: 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."
Q: 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!"
Q: 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."
Q: 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."
Q: 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."
Q: 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?"
Q: 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."