Red Bull Rally of Turkey preview
When learning anything for the first time – such as world rallying –
it’s important to distinguish fact from fiction. For example, turkeys do
not actually come from Turkey. Instead they come from North America.
However, the first European settlers in America incorrectly
identified turkeys as a type of guineafowl (native to Africa), which
were mostly imported to Europe through Turkey at the time. So the name
stuck, although interestingly it’s almost impossible to find turkey on a
restaurant menu in Turkey. Which should make Istanbul a popular
destination for a Christmas break among the turkey population of the
Christmas is still eight months away, but Kimi Raikkonen – who is
making the switch from Formula One to the World Rally Championship with
Red Bull this year – had a useful present of his first four World Rally
Championship points on the last WRC event in Jordan. Now he heads to
Istanbul for the Rally of Turkey, which is being run on an entirely new
route this year. For the first time in his short rally career, Kimi
starts on a slightly more level playing field as none of the other
drivers have ever seen the all-new Turkish stages either.
The difference is that this will still only be Kimi’s third-ever
gravel rally with the Citroen C4 WRC. But luckily the ‘iceman’ has never
been scared of a challenge.
"I suppose it’s good that I like challenges, because this is going to
be another big one for me," said Kimi. "I actually thought that Jordan
was the most difficult rally we have seen so far, but I don’t really
have any idea what this one is going to be like. In Jordan we were able
to find a safe pace, which might not have been the most exciting thing
in the world, but at least it meant that we finished the rally and were
able to score points. In Turkey, we’re just going to have to see what
sort of feeling we have with the stages and decide what is possible
then. The priority is to finish, particularly because it’s a completely
new event and you have to get to know the stages. But of course I’m a
competitive person so I always want to do the best that I can."
Occupying the right-hand seat as always will be co-driver Kaj
Lindstrom, responsible for reading out the notes to guide Kimi round the
complex Turkish stages.
"I don’t really know what we can expect, but the information I have
suggests that the stages are quite fast and wide, and I think this
should suit Kimi well," said Kaj, before heading off to Istanbul. "The
only concern that we have is the risk of rain: it’s the same for
everyone, but if it does rain then the surfaces are sure to become
extremely slippery, which will not be so nice. We need to do a good job
in the recce, then we can make a plan for the rest of the event."