If Kimi comes back, isn’t that something to celebrate?
"If I owned a team and Kimi Raikkonen was available, I wouldn’t take him on," wrote Jacques Villeneuve in his F1 Racing column back in March. "Why would a team want to take on someone who wasn’t interested in being there?"
He may well want to ask his former boss and fellow columnist Frank Williams. It’s a fact that Kimi’s been to Grove and, as we were working on this month’s cover feature, the word was that Kimi had already discussed the thorny issue of PR days with them – and apparently agreed to do more than he had for any other team. Kimi’s mood seems to have shifted: he’s always had the air of someone who’d only come back with a top team yet now he’s seemingly open to offers from the lower midfield.
Ultimately, most fans would love to have Kimi back. But Villeneuve’s view – which is shared by others – is that Raikkonen’s behaviour was not heroically anti-establishment but disrespectful to fans. Really? When a driver gets out of the car and thanks his sponsors before the people who’ve paid their hard-earned cash to come and watch, isn’t that sort of depressingly corporate behaviour just as disrespectful? If a gifted racing driver who’s fond of the odd choc ice and dressing up as a gorilla while jet-skiing wants to come back, surely we should roll out the red carpet and relish seeing whether he’s still got it on the track. F1 doesn’t need any more robots, but colourful ex-world champions are in short supply.
Kimi charmed by WRC media
The media often get a bad press (which is ironic if you think about it) but Kimi Raikkonen reckons that the way the World Rally Championship is covered is one of the best things about it.
In Formula One, it’s fair to say that Kimi and the media weren’t always the best of friends. Because of that, he’s always been somewhat wary of people twisting his words.
In the WRC though, that’s starting to change. “I got the feeling last year from the start that the people who are involved in the rally media are more interested just in the sport and what is happening on the stages, rather than creating bullshit stories with big headlines outside of it,” said the Iceman. “The F1 journalists write more about other things than the sport sometimes. There’s less of that in rallying, it’s a different way of thinking.”
Whether or not the unparalleled charm of the international WRC press corps is going to be enough to keep Kimi in the world championship remains to be seen, but the former grand prix champion admits that it’s been a lot easier this year compared to 2010.
“It definitely comes more naturally,” he said. “Once you get onto the level where it feels normal and you don’t have to think about it you can push harder and you can improve a lot. Now I don’t have to think about the notes. Compared to last year, it’s completely different.”
The Iceman cometh back
He left F1 at the end of 2009 to try his hand at rallying and even NASCAR trucks. Now, after all the endless speculation, you can hear it exclusively from the man himself: Kimi Raikkonen wants to return. The question is… where to?
Kmi Raikkonen, despite a widespread reputation to the contrary, is not an enigma. In fact, he is one of the most straightforward yet misunderstood characters in motor racing. All he wants to do is win – in the most efficient way possible. What could be more logical than that?
But some people make the mistake of confusing a lack of communication with a lack of motivation when, in fact, the exact opposite is true. What is perceived to be a monosyllabic outlook on life (once prompting paddock magazine The Red Bulletin to produce a photo feature called ‘The 12 moods of Kimi Raikkonen’ – the catch being that all 12 photos were identical) is not even true: Kimi has plenty to say when he believes that there is something worthwhile to say or – more pertinently – something worthwhile to respond to.
The problem with polite conversation is that it’s meaningless. Let’s be honest: nobody is ever really interested in the weather or how your journey was. And this is just the normal world we’re talking about: imagine what it’s like in the rarefied atmosphere of Formula 1 where the air is as rendolent with self-absorption as it is with designer aftershave and there are more hidden agendas than in the cellar of a stationary shop.
So Kimi prefers to maintain a dignified silence about the recent flurry of speculation that has linked him to various Formula 1 teams – although he admits that a move back is possible. But lots of things are possible, including life on Mars, and the truth of the matter is that nothing has been agreed for 2012. Kimi Raikkonen’s diary for next year is blank… for the moment at least.
"For now there’s really nothing and before I have anything 100 per cent confirmed, there’s no point in talking," he points out with his characteristic honesty. Part of the reason why Kimi doesn’t always say very much is because he doesn’t like lying.
The currency of Formula 1 – much to Kimi’s bemusement – is rumour. You have two choices: either play the game, fuel the fire and start the gradual process of disappearing up your own rectum, or stay well out of it. But there is a third option, too: just say what you mean and try to rise above the politicking. However, a problem exists with that as well. Chances are that whatever you say, someone at some point will try to use it against you. The effort would be far better invested in the driving, which of course is the only reason why you’re here in the first place.
Kimi’s exit caused by fuel leak
Citroen Racing Technologies’ boss Benoit Nogier has confirmed that a fuel leak caused Kimi Raikkonen’s retirement from RallyRACC-Rally de Espana on Friday morning.
Raikkonen, Formula One world champion in 2007, was fighting back from the time lost on the dust-coated opening stage when he stopped on stage three.
“We had a problem with a fuel leak and he had to stop in the stage,” said Nogier. “It was a very, very small leak but we lost a lot of fuel. It was something almost invisible and it was really difficult to find what the problem was.”
Nogier, who said a full analysis of the fuel leak problem would take place in order to establish the precise cause, confirmed Raikkonen’s Citroen DS3 WRC had briefly caught fire although there was little damage as a result of this.
Raikkonen elected not to restart under SupeRally rules this morning, even though his car had been repaired.
“Kimi took the decision to keep the car for the next rally, the last event of the season, which will be very important,” said Nogier. “We prefer not to take any risks to keep the full potential for the next rally.”
[…] “Five cars have been prepared in our workshops for this rally”, explain Benoît Nogier, the man in charge of the Versailles-Satory based team. “In addition to the four race-prepared DS3 WRCs, a fifth was made available for a test session this week.”
Kimi Räikkönen (ICE1 Racing) racked up six consecutives top-10 finishes in the early part of the season, and the Finn is tackling Rally Spain full of ambition: “Kimi’s potential is increasing in leaps and bounds. In Rally France he could have finished in the first five. By tacking advantage of a good starting position on the first day, and with the speed he’s already shown on dry tarmac he could achieve a very good result”.
The Citroën DS3 WRCs Prepare For Their Debut On Tarmac
Three Citroën DS3 WRCs have been entered for the ADAC Rally Germany for Petter Solberg / Chris Patterson, Kimi Räikkönen / Kaj Lindström and Peter van Merksteijn Jr / Erwin Mombaerts with the backing of Citroën Racing Technologies. The three crews fettled in their cars in intense test sessions that left nothing to chance for this event, the first on tarmac in 2011.
The three drivers shared six days’ testing in Germany on roads in the Mosel vineyards and then in the Baumholder military camp. Almost 1200 kilometres – the equivalent of a complete rally per crew – were covered.
"After between six and eight months without racing on tarmac, it was necessary to spend at least two days finding our marks," said Benoît Nogier, the Citroën Racing Technologies team manager. "Our three crews were able to test the setups decided by the works team in the heart of the vines and on the special roads in the military camp. Peter Solberg, Kimi Räikkönen and Peter Van Merksteijn Junior were very happy with the solutions and were able to fine-tune their setups. We hope that our preparation will be translated into good times in the stages."
The Citroën DS3 WRCs took advantage of the variable weather to run on both wet and dry roads: "The situation was perfect to find our grip level in different conditions. We also worked on new tyres and their working windows. The drivers felt a bigger difference between the soft and hard rubber. Tyre choice will play a greater role than in the past. In all cases there’s no room for error.
Last year Kimi Räikkönen (ICE1 Racing), on his maiden outing in Rally Germany set his first quickest time in the FIA World Rally Championship. At the wheel of a Citroën WRC, the Finn topped the time sheets in the last city stage. This season the Power Stage will be Circus Maximus Trier.
Kimi Räikkönen and Kaj Lindström, who already showed a promising turn of speed in the previous rally in Greece, confirmed their progress in Finland. The ICE1 Racing driver started his third Rally Finland at a searing pace only a second per kilometre off the reference time, and finished the first leg in thirteenth place. He lost precious time due to a minor error on Friday morning. On the way back to Jyväskylä he got back into the rhythm and moved up to twelfth. Iceman’s confidence was now at full boost, and he upped the pace even further in the home stretch by overtaking his nearest rivals and finished in ninth place.
“These roads are as quick and as difficult as ever,” underlined the Finnish driver. But we still managed to set good times. I’d like to thank the many spectators who cheered us on during the weekend. We were able to maintain a good pace throughout the whole rally despite a few minor mistakes. It’s encouraging for the rest of the season.”
With both Citroën DS3 WRCs at the finish, Benoit Nogier, the Citroën Racing Technologies team manager, was pretty satisfied with the team’s overall performance in Rally Finland: “Kimi’s made a lot of progress since last season. He’s showing promising steadiness and he’s on the right track. Above all, he’s now getting used to finishing the rallies in the points. It’s both satisfying and very encouraging.” […]
Da TS.fi, traduzione Google
La prestazione di Räikkönen elogiata dagli esperti
Räikkönen non è considerato una persona mattiniera ma questa volta è partito velocemente sia il venerdì mattina, sia in particolar modo, il sabato.
Nella SS17 la sua Citroen ha colpito una roccia poi ha toccato con il posteriore contro degli alberi.
- “Il paraurti davanti si è staccato e l’aria si infilava sotto. Quando andavo un po’ più veloce, l’anteriore iniziava ad andare da tutte le parti e non stava più in pista. Non c’era ragione di andare veloci quando l’anteriore scivolava in tutte le direzioni”, ha detto Räikkönen.
Comunque la prestazione è stata notevole. L’apprezzamento nei confronti di Räikkönen è aumentato tra gli esperti.
- “Certamente da spettatore finlandese preferirei vedere Kimi continuare a vincere in F1, ma ora le cose stanno così. Kimi è nella posizione di poter guidare ciò che vuole. Lui vuole guidare i rally e tutti conoscono che controllo della macchina ha il ragazzo. Lui migliorerà come pilota di rally quando imparerà come fare le note e ad estrarre da esse il massimo delle informazioni”, pensa Lasse Lampi.
- “Non ci si dovrebbe limitare ad osservare e a dire, ‘oh, Kimi è di nuovo ottavo’. Io osservo la guida di Kimi in modo completamente diverso e penso che la sua prestazione sia stata migliore di quanto mi aspettassi”, dice Rauno Aaltonen.
- “Kimi dimostra di avere un buon controllo di nervi e di mente quando è in pista. I rally a questo livello sono comunque una battaglia e quando sei al limite, la probabilità di errore diventa sempre maggiore. Tanto di cappello per Kimi”.
Aaltonen si chiedeva anche del perchè della dichiarazione di Olivier Quesnel apparsa nel web, a proposito della sua delusione sul ritmo di Kimi.
- “Penso che sia stata una valutazione ingiusta. Bisogna capire che le persone guidano su diversi percorsi con diverse velocità. Un essere umano non è una macchina. Alcuni vanno meglio sulle strade veloci, altri danno il loro meglio su strade tortuose. Dipende completamente dalla macchina, dai muscoli e dal modo in cui uno pensa a dove guardare”, dice Aaltonen.
Nogier expects Räikkönen to show more Finland pace
Citroen Racing Technologies boss Benoit Nogier expects Kimi Raikkonen to be closer to the leading pace on Rally Finland next week. Finn Raikkonen is in his second season with the French team under Nogier’s stewardship and will tackle his home round of the world championship for the third time at the wheel of a Citroen DS3 WRC. “Kimi loves his country and his rally,” said Nogier. “He really enjoyed his two-day test and he got the car to handle to his liking. He has a logical approach. He was his usual self, did not get excited and kept his unflappable calm. The road show will help him to immerse himself in the ambiance of the rally. We hope he’ll drive a consistent race and close the gap to the frontrunners.” Before Rally Finland gets underway in Jyvaskyla on July 28, Raikkonen and Citroen team leader Sebastien Loeb will take part in the Red Bull Road Show event in the Finnish capital Helsinki tomorrow (Sunday).
Räikkönen backed for solid Acropolis
Kimi Raikkonen’s co-driver Kaj Lindtsrom is confident the Finn’s improvement on the stages will continue on this week’s Acropolis Rally, despite a two-month lay-off since his last outing.
Raikkonen’s last event was the Jordan Rally, where he finished sixth, just missing out on equaling his best ever WRC result in his Citroen DS3 WRC. Since the Middle East event, Raikkonen has had just one day of testing in the Citroen – a day spent close to Marseille in France last week.
Lindstrom said: "The test was a good day, not just to improve the feeling in the car but also to test a few [set-up] things for Greece. There were no problems [getting back in the car after two months away] because Kimi felt comfortable straight away and found the feeling. The road was rough and loose for the test, a bit like what I remember Greece to be, but it’s a long time since I was there."
This week’s Acropolis will be Raikkonen’s first taste of the notoriously tough Greek roads.
"Sure it will be a new rally for Kimi but he will be okay," said Lindstrom. "We made some improvements to the car in the test and Kimi was confident, no question. Like in Jordan he felt comfortable in the car and I think we can see another strong performance by him.
"It’s always difficult to say what that result will be and there’s still a long way to go [for his learning] but we are closing the gap all of the time and I’m confident we will be even closer in Greece.
"The first day of the event is a tough day with only remote service but I don’t think the approach will be any different. It’s the same for everybody, a matter of luck if you have problems or not. If something breaks you know you have to live with it and get through. We will look to make a clean run but I am not that concerned for Kimi."
Raikkonen’s team manager Benoit Nogier was equally confident in the former Formula 1 world champion’s ability to deal with a new event. The Frenchman added: "We were very happy with his performance in Jordan and he has a good opportunity for Greece.
"We found a road with a condition as close as possible to Greece and Kimi was quite happy. It will be a tough rally, not necessarily for the drivers but for the cars. The first day is very long with only a remote service but Kimi is not a rookie anymore and will be able to manage this situation."
Raikkonen returns to rallying
Kimi Raikkonen will return to World Rally Championship duty in Greece next week, almost two months after he made his last appearance in the series in Jordan, where he finished sixth in his Ice 1 Racing Citroen DS3 WRC.
Since then the ex-Formula One world champion has made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut, finishing 15th at Charlotte, a result he followed up by claiming 27th on his first appearance in the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the same venue one week later.
Raikkonen has yet to compete on the Loutraki-based Acropolis Rally and will be braced for a tough test on the punishing gravel stages. He spent today (Wednesday) reacclimatising to the rigours of driving his turbocharged Citroen on gravel roads during a test near Marseille in the south of France where he covered approximately 150 kilometres.
Benoit Nogier, who manages the Citroen Racing Technologies operation, the company responsible for running Raikkonen’s DS3 WRC, spoke to Wrc.com following the test. He said: “We were very happy with his performance in Jordan and he has a good opportunity for Greece. We found a road with a condition as close as possible to Greece and Kimi was quite happy. It will be a tough rally, not necessarily for the drivers but for the cars. The first day is very long with only a remote service but Kimi is not a rookie anymore and will be able to manage this situation.”
Raikkonen, who is co-driven by fellow Finn Kaj Lindstrom, will be anxious to kick start his promising 2011 WRC campaign in Greece after skipping the last two rounds in Italy and Argentina. He had described his performance on the Jordan Rally in mid-April as his best in the series so far and would have equalled his career-best fifth place but for a late puncture.
“The driving has been better and we’re pushing harder now,” Raikkonen was quoted as saying recently. “My only target really is to improve in the WRC.”
The Acropolis Rally will mark the fourth of Raikkonen’s planned 10 appearances in the WRC. He’s currently ninth in the drivers’ standings on 18 points. Ice 1 Racing is sixth in the manufacturers’ standings with 26 points.
Alcune brevi in attesa della prossima gara.
Da Autosprint n.10 dell’8 marzo 2011:
Da Dribbling del 12/3/2011, collage di immagini dei piloti Ferrari: http://www.mediafire.com/?72p79h9wo1xyj7k
Test in Francia con la DS3 per Kimi, in preparazione al Rally del Portogallo.
Altre foto QUI
Raikkonen happy after pre- Portugal test
Kimi Raikkonen has voiced his satisfaction to team boss Benoit Nogier following a test in France yesterday (Wednesday).
The 2007 Formula One world champion covered approximately 150 kilometres at a venue in the east of the country as he continued his preparations for next week’s Vodafone Rally de Portugal.
Raikkonen is returning to the WRC with his ICE 1 Racing team after deciding not to include Rally Guanajuato Mexico on his schedule of events for this season.
“He was very happy with the feeling of the [Citroen DS3 WRC],” said Nogier, the man responsible for overseeing Raikkonen’s transition to rallying. “One day was not a lot of time for Kimi because he had to combine discovering the car on gravel and working on the different choices and options for his set-up for the rally. But it was a success although he prefers the new car because it is more reactive than before and for him it’s better.”
Nogier said finding a suitable venue for the test had proved troublesome because of persistent rain in areas of France, which resulted in new Citroen signing Peter van Merksteijn Jr’s planned test on Tuesday being cancelled. However, the site used in eastern France for Raikkonen’s run had been largely free of rain for the past three weeks and was mainly dry during Wednesday’s test.
Of Raikkonen’s chances in Portugal, Nogier was similarly upbeat. “It’s always a difficult rally with tough stages but his performance in Sweden makes us confident,” said Nogier. “He knows the rally and knows what the problems are. He had a good feeling with the car after the test so he can be okay.”
Finn Raikkonen finished 10th on Rally de Portugal last season alongside co-driver Kaj Lindstrom.
Kimi Räikkönen (Ice 1 Racing): "We made a good start to the championship in the Swedish Rally. We were closer to the leaders than last year. But we’re still learning. Since then we’ve taken part in a test day to get to grips with the car on gravel. It feels good and I can’t wait to be at the start of the Portuguese Rally."
Nogier impressed by Raikkonen improvement
Kimi Raikkonen’s performance on day two of Rally Sweden compared favourably to Sebastien Loeb, according to Benoit Nogier, the man responsible for managing Raikkonen’s ICE 1 Racing team
Raikkonen is seventh, one place behind Sebastien Loeb, in the overall standings after 15 stages. Nogier revealed that he even sent Loeb’s split times to the ex-Formula One world champion on Saturday afternoon so the Finn could compare his performance with the seven-time WRC title winner.
“We are very happy because it is the first time I sent him the split times to the car compared to Sebastien Loeb so it is good news,” Nogier said. “It was very interesting, especially this afternoon because he improved himself and was five-tenths of a second per kilometre [slower than] Loeb, which we are pleased with.”
When asked to explain Raikkonen’s increased pace, Nogier said: “It’s the second time for Kimi here in Sweden and we have already seen yesterday it was much easier for a second time. I think it’s also easier for him in the Citroen DS3 WRC.”
Nogier continued: “We plan for him to be in the points tomorrow and a top six would be great. It is our goal and we are not so far away now. We have a chance tomorrow.”
Räikkönen rilassato nel suo miglior ritmo nei rally
Quello della Svezia è il 20° rally di Kimi. Sabato ha avuto la sua miglior giornata sinora. Räikkönen ha trovato, specialmente nel pomeriggio, un ritmo di guida che gli ha dato sempre maggior fiducia e gli ottimi tempi nelle speciali sono arrivati facilmente.
Nelle prove Räikkönen è stato prima sesto, poi due volte quinto e alla fine quarto più veloce. Ciò che è sorprendente è stato che Räikkönen sia giunto così vicino a Petter Solberg che guidava la stessa auto.
Nella tappa Lesjofors Räikkönen è stato solo due decimi più lento di lui, nella Sagen era già 2,4 secondi più veloce di lui e nella Fredriksberg era sei decimi dietro di lui.
Quanto sei sorpreso dei tuoi tempi?
- “E’ andata bene. La guida è semplicemente migliorata. E’ stato insidioso la mattina ma ho trovato il ritmo giusto al pomeriggio.”
Quanto sei vicino già al tuo limite?
- “Non lo so, ma so per certo che questi tempi sono arrivati facilmente. E’ stata una guida completamente normale. E’ bello che abbia trovato questo passo al pomeriggio. Ora tutto ciò che devo fare è tenere lo stesso ritmo anche domenica.”
Il miglior piazzamento di Räikkönen è il quinto posto della Turchia. Comunque questa giornata è stata molto meglio visto che i suoi avversari non si sono ritirati come in Turchia.
Senti di aver fatto dei progressi?
- “Quando ti alleni per un anno intero, devi per forza aver imparato qualcosa. Speriamo che la guida migliori ancora di qui in avanti. Ho trovato il modo giusto di guidare e i tempi sono immediamente giunti con molta più facilità”, sorride Räikkönen.
Kaj Lindström avverte di non eccitarsi troppo per i buoni tempi.
- “Questo è stato un giorno in cui ha guidato in modo pulito. Penso che Kimi abbia guidato superbamente oggi pomeriggio. Ho sempre sostenuto che quando guidi a modo tuo e non fai errori, la guida diventa rilassata, acquisisci fiducia e i tempi vengono da soli.”
- “Kimi ha guidato pulito e con un buon ritmo. Ora tutto quello che deve fare è tenere lo stesso ritmo nello stesso stile”, dice Kaj.
Dopo un venerdì difficile, Räikkönen è risalito dalla decimo alla settima posizione il sabato, giusto dietro Sebastien Loeb.
Da sito Citroen, intervista a Kimi: http://www.mediafire.com/?cp2t5v1hbnq4450
Dal numero 1/2 di RallySprint febbraio 2011:
Raikkonen tipped for top six in Sweden
Kimi Raikkonen’s team manager has tipped the ex-Formula One world champion to challenge for a top six finish on Rally Sweden next week.
Benoit Nogier, who will oversee the ICE 1 Racing operation on 10 rounds of the World Rally Championship, believes the Finn can shine on the snow-coated Swedish stages.
“I expect him to be in the battle – not for the podium but for the points,” said Nogier. “I think a top six finish for Kimi in Sweden is something we can expect and I hope he will be at this level on Friday, to expect this result on Sunday.”
Raikkonen, who got his first taste of Citroen’s new DS3 WRC during a test in Sweden last weekend, finished 10th in the final WRC drivers’ standings in 2010. Nogier said he was delighted when Raikkonen confirmed he would be returning for a second season in the WRC.
“It was very important [he has come back] because with Kimi we had the worst part with him last year, it was his first season in rally,” said Nogier. “We had two or three bad moments in the season, but it was very important to carry on with him now and to begin to build something very interesting and to start to not crash the car, but finish the rally and start to get good results. He can do this.”
Nogier said he expects Raikkonen to approach the season on a rally-by-rally basis, adding: “The goal will change rally after rally. Of course, we will try to get the best results we can from the beginning of the season. For the new events, for example Australia, it is important to just reach the finish line of the rally.”
He continued: “Kimi enjoyed driving the C4 so I cannot imagine that he will be disappointed with the DS3. I am very optimistic that Kimi will like it.”
Nogier parla del Rally d’Australia mentre sul sito di Kimi compare tra quelli esclusi dal suo programma. Attendiamo chiarimenti…
Commento dopo la SS18: Raikkonen is through the stage. “We took it very easy this morning. We had a gearbox problem in the second stage, but no other problems.”
Commento dopo la SS19: “We are bit lucky with the weather. Quite slippy some places.”
Commento dopo la SS20: “Many mistakes, so we eight. Some options for next year.”
KIMI IN WALES 2010, FINAL REPORT.
So this is where the remarkable WRC journey ends for Kimi Raikkonen in 2010, after 11 rallies contested and five points finishes, making a total of 25 points and 10th in the drivers’ championship at the end of his debut season.
In just one year, the 2007 Formula One World Champion has become the fifth most prolific points-scorer in the illustrious history of the Citroen C4 WRC: a car that has claimed more than 600 fastest stage times throughout its four seasons of competition, one of which was set by Kimi on the Rallye Deutschland in August.
Kimi has made a bit of rally history, becoming the only Formula 1 World Champion to score World Rally Championship points or set a fastest stage time. This year, the Finn also took his very first rally win, at a national event in France, and visited new countries that ranged from Mexico to Bulgaria. It’s been an incredible story that has captured the imagination of the entire motorsport world.
Kimi is known as the Iceman because nothing bothers him: especially not a brand new challenge that would send most people running for cover. He is well known for being fearless in the car but he is just as determined out of it, having taken on the biggest bet of his career thanks to Red Bull. Nobody has ever tried to switch full-time from Formula One to rally before, but there and again not everybody is like the Iceman….
The learning curve has been so steep that it is practically vertical, and Rally Great Britain was one of the most complicated events of the year thanks to rain, wind, mud, fog and even a small cyclone called Carmen: a bad weather front that has swept across northern Europe.
Nonetheless, Kimi did not make a single serious mistake on any of the 20 gravel stages and 359 competitive kilometres, to eventually finish in a points-scoring eighth.
“It’s been a really good rally and it’s nice to end my first season in the World Rally Championship with a points finish,” he said. “This has definitely been the most challenging year of my career and Britain was one of the most difficult rallies that I competed on, mostly because of the grip changing all the time. The roads were really slippery, but it’s always been a question of trying to work out exactly how slippery they are. Like everything else, this has been a completely new experience for me. Looking back on it, this season has been more or less as I expected it to be: we’ve made a few mistakes but we’ve also learned a lot. The stages in Wales are really nice, but as always you need experience to be really quick on them. Generally speaking I’m happy with the progress we’ve made on this rally and I’ve had a lot of fun as well, so I’m very grateful to Red Bull and Citroen Racing for all the opportunities that we’ve enjoyed this year.”
A key part of Raikkonen’s swift adaptation to a completely new discipline has been his co-driver Kaj Lindstrom, a former winner of the Monte Carlo Rally, who has been alongside the Iceman since Kimi first started rallying for fun last year.
Before then, Lindstrom sat alongside four-time World Rally Champion Tommi Makinen and he sees a lot in common between the two Finnish legends.
“They certainly have the same determination and natural speed,” said Lindstrom. “For somebody with so little experience, Kimi has taken everything in his stride and made a lot of progress on both gravel and asphalt, as well as with the pace notes. It’s clear how much he has improved and there’s plenty more still to come. On this event Kimi has been really impressive with no mistakes at all, so it’s been a great way to finish the season.”
Kimi Räikkönen and Kaj Lindström had a slightly more troubled start to the day because of an electronic problem in the gearshift command at the end of Margam Park 1 (SS18). Apart from this small setback, the Finn was able to continue making progress. “The stages are as difficult as ever,” he said. “Even though the conditions are slightly better today, the roads are still extremely slippery.”
By ending the rally in eighth position, Kimi racked up his fifth points finish of the year. “We were expecting this to be a tricky season,” he said. “I made some mistakes but I also learned a lot this year and I had fun driving the Citroën C4 WRC. I would like to carry on: this is my preferred option for 2011.”
Team manager Benoit Nogier concluded: “We had no specific fixed objective at the start of the year. Our goal was to help Sébastien Ogier show his potential so that he could get a factory seat. We fulfilled that target over the course of the year and this remains our biggest satisfaction. The other objective was to allow Kimi Räikkönen to find out all about the World Rally Championship. He was able to learn at his own pace and I think that this first year has given him the desire to continue in the WRC. So once more, it was mission accomplished. Speaking generally, the team always did a good job in what was its third season of the World Rally Championship. Third place in the final rankings is a great reward for us. It shows the ability of our team to make the most of a reliable and competitive car. We’ve got a very good structure in place now, so we will be doing everything we can to continue this adventure in 2011.”
Commento dopo la SS2: RÄIKKÖNEN K. / LINDSTRÖM K. “Very slippery. Not so muddy, but very slippery.”
Sordo and Räikkönen brave the Welsh storm
In the second Citroën Junior Team C4 WRC, Kimi Räikkönen and Kaj Lindström end the day 10th after a sensible rally so far.
The Rally Great Britain got underway in the midst of an autumn storm, named ‘Carmen’ by
meteorologists. Heavy rain and winds of up to 100kph, which forced the local authorities to take exceptional measures, accompanied the crews as they started the rally yesterday night.
As the rain fell, Dani Sordo and Kimi Raikkonen put on a great show at the Cardiff spectator
superspecial, which took place on Thursday evening in front of huge crowds. The Spaniard set the thirdfastest time behind Loeb and Ogier while the Finn was sixth overall on the short asphalt test in Cardiff Bay.
The Citroën C4 WRCs left parc fermé this morning at 0600. The crews were heading towards Llanidloes, in the centre of Wales, for two runs over the loop of three stages that made up the day’s competitive action.
Kimi Räikkönen was also struck by the constantly changing levels of grip. “I actually thought that the roads would be a lot more muddy,” he said. “But they’re certainly very slippery.”
At the end of the first loop of gravel stages, Dani Sordo was fifth overall while Kimi Räikkönen was 10th.
Kimi Räikkönen showed more and more performance as the rally went on and consolidated his position in the top 10. “It was very difficult to judge the amount of grip,” he said. “Some places, for example, looked slippery but in fact offered quite a lot of grip. I’m still lacking a lot of experience in these conditions. My driving is improving bit by bit. We’re heading in the right direction…”
Team manager Benoît Nogier concluded: “Our opening day has fitted in perfectly with the objective of ensuring that our two Citroën C4 WRCs finish in the points, so that the Citroën Junior Team can claim third place in the World Championship rankings. Dani was able to put in some very significant performances throughout the day. It’s a shame that he lost time with a spin. His new goal now is to come back at Hirvonen and stay in front of Latvala. Kimi Räikkönen has not made a single mistake throughout the rally so far and he has set some interesting split times. It’s all very promising for the rest of the
Raikkonen expected tough season
Kimi Raikkonen has admitted he expected his rookie season to be as tough as it has been in the World Rally Championship.
The former Formula 1 world champion has crashed his Citroen C4 WRC regularly this season – ending his last WRC outing with a shakedown roll before the event had even begun.
Raikkonen said: "Our season has not gone entirely according to plan, but this is actually what I expected: it’s completely normal when you are learning something so new."
Despite the accident, Raikkonen has been one of the talking points of this year’s series and his team manager Benoit Nogier is adamant the best of Raikkonen has not been seen yet.
"He is still learning," said Nogier. "Don’t forget this is still his first year and he is still doing the events for the first time. Even next year, if he stays – and we want him to stay, he will still be learning, but it will be a little bit less hard."
Raikkonen says he has no regrets about his shift from the Ferrari Formula 1 team, adding: "Rallying is like a national sport in Finland: since I was a kid I followed it and I grew up with all these big names who were right at the front.
"So rallying is something that I always wanted to try: it was not at all a sudden decision. At the end of last year the opportunity came up so I was very happy to take it. And I’ve really enjoyed it."
Raikkonen also gave his strongest indication yet that he will remain in the WRC, adding: ‘Not so many people get the chance to compete at this level and I want to use all the lessons I have learned this year."
Raikkonen’s final outing of the season comes on Rally GB later this week, with the Cardiff-based event providing another first.
"I’m sure that Rally Great Britain is going to be a very tricky way to end the season because I hear that the grip is changing all the time and I know that the weather is going to be bad," said Raikkonen. "But you learn more by pushing yourself to the limit. I’m looking forward to it a lot."
Kimi Raikkonen, backed by Red Bull on the World Rally Championship this year, was exactly one month and four days old when the legendary Hannu Mikkola won what was then called the RAC Rally in 1979: a four-day marathon up and down the length of Great Britain in wet and wintry conditions, featuring 56 special stages and 687 competitive kilometres.
Kimi won’t have noticed the first time that the Rally Great Britain came into his life as he could not even walk, let alone drive. But several years later this fact would go on to have an immense significance, as Mikkola is one of the many Finnish rally heroes who inspired Kimi to go beyond his comfort zone and step inside a rally car.
Mikkola was one of the flying Finns who made the specialised forests of Great Britain their own, along with Henri Toivonen, Markku Alen, Tommi Makinen and Marcus Gronholm; to name just a few examples. In fact, a Finn has won in Great Britain 21 times in the 65-year history of the event.
In his first year of the World Rally Championship Kimi certainly won’t be challenging for victory in Wales, but nonetheless all these icons of the sport have made their mark on the 2007 Formula 1 World Champion.
"Rallying is like a national sport in Finland: since I was a kid I followed it and I grew up with all these big names who were right at the front," he said. "So rallying is something that I always wanted to try: it was not at all a sudden decision. At the end of last year the opportunity came up so I was very happy to take it. Our season has not gone entirely according to plan, but this is actually what I expected: it’s completely normal when you are learning something so new. But I’ve really enjoyed it. Not so many people get the chance to compete at this level and I want to use all the lessons I have learned this year. I’m sure that Rally Great Britain is going to be a very tricky way to end the season because I hear that the grip is changing all the time and I know that the weather is going to be bad, but you learn more by pushing yourself to the limit. I’m looking forward to it a lot."
The limit is a place that Kimi has always been fascinated to explore, and in Rally Great Britain he will face the possibility of torrential rain, freezing fog and maybe even patches of ice. Or possibly all three at the same time. As always though, he is able to rely on co-driver Kaj Lindstrom to guide him through all the potential pitfalls. Kaj has plenty of experience of Great Britain, having even taken part in – and won – the British Rally Championship.
"A bit like Finland, rallying is really part of the local culture in Britain," added Kaj. "There’s always a really enthusiastic crowd of spectators, and wherever we go we get massive support. We’ll need it, as these are some of the most difficult stages of the year. If it rains the surfaces just turn into mud and it becomes almost impossibly slippery. Once more, the aim here is simply for us to get to the finish, so this will be the priority. We’re here to learn and so we have to get through all the stages."
Kimi and Kaj will also have an opportunity to see some of the famed Welsh countryside this weekend as remote service is in Builth Wells, towards the middle of Wales. Rather than producing rally cars the little town is more famous for producing calves, as service is held inside one the biggest cattle markets in Wales: even bigger than the main street of Cardiff on a Saturday night…
Benoît Nogier, capo del Citroen Junior Team WRC era l’ospite di RMC. E’ lui il capo di Kimi Raikkonen. Il finlandese sta vivendo un debutto complicto nei rally. Nulla indica che possa continuare nei rally mentre la Renault ha intrapreso dei contatti con i suoi manager per farlo tornare in F1: “Non c’è stato un incontro faccia a faccia con Kimi riguardo alla prossima stagione. Ma ha dimostrato una certa soddisfazione di essere con noi. E’ libero di scegliere. Ma quando fisseremo una data bisognerà prendere una decisione”, ha detto Nogier.
Nel frattempo, continua il corteggiamento Renault…
Renault flattered by Raikkonen interest
Renault boss Eric Boullier says Kimi Raikkonen’s interest in the team is flattering and shows that the French squad is on its way up.
“Yes, it is because it shows that the work we’ve done this season is noticed and that we are considered a challenger for the championship in the future,” Boullier told the official Formula 1 website.
Raikkonen has contacted the team with a view of returning to grand prix racing next year following a season in the World Rally Championship.
Boullier insisted he wants to meet Raikkonen face to face to find out about the Finn’s motivation to return to Formula 1, but made it clear the team first has to decide whether it will retain Vitaly Petrov or not.
“He contacted us. But once again, our main issue at the moment is whether we should keep Petrov. Only if this question is negated we will look for replacement. Regarding Kimi, I would have to speak personally with him first, look him in the eyes to see if I see enough motivation there for him to return to Formula 1.
“It doesn’t make sense to hire somebody – even a former world champion – if you cannot be sure that his motivation is still one hundred percent. Why should you invest in somebody who leaves you guessing?”
Boullier admitted Petrov’s financial potential is undeniable, but said the driver’s performance will still be the main factor in deciding on his future.
“I know that a Russian driver would be appreciated and Russia holds a huge potential for all companies present in Formula 1,” he said. “However, for us the performance of a driver is still the first criteria – and then the passport.
“Performance clearly wins over marketing potential because if a driver doesn’t deliver then the marketing potential is also limited. You must never put the cart before the horse, or at least we don’t. For a French driver the nationality would similarly not smooth his way into the cockpit if he was lacking performance.”
Da Autosprint n. 40 del 5/10/2010:
Kimi Räikkönen has been used to making the trip to Japan throughout his Formula One career, winning the Japanese Grand Prix in 2005, but the gravel stages on the island of Hokkaido are going to be all new to him.
Kimi finished in the points on his last outing, the all-asphalt Rallye Deutschland, and also set the first fastest stage time of his short WRC career to date. He said: “We’ve not been testing since we finished the Rallye Deutschland. When we get to Japan, I’m going to have to get straight back into the rhythm again. I’m expecting it to be a very tricky event for us. From what I’ve heard, the Rally Japan is particularly complex. And it’s sure to be even more complicated for a beginner like me.”
The Finn has been in the points on four occasions from the eight starts he has taken this year, but his objectives remain unchanged. “My targets are exactly the same,” he confirmed. “From the first few stages in Japan we will be able to see the pace we can run at. But once more the main thing will be to be there at the end of the rally.”
Q&A con Benoit Nogier
For Kimi Räikkönen, will the target be any different to the previous rallies?
“Kimi is making progress from rally to rally and he is getting closer to the performance of other drivers who have a lot more experience than him. His most recent performances underline the improvements he has made and he is becoming increasingly more consistent. In Japan we will be competing against other crews who don’t have a huge amount of past experience on this route, which is relatively new. If Kimi could repeat the same sort of performance that he has put in on the other rallies that are new to everyone this year, like Turkey or Bulgaria, this would be a great outcome.”
RÄIKKÖNEN K. / LINDSTRÖM K. “Difficult, but I’ve been driving really bad on this morning.”
Raikkonen finding Germany tough
Kimi Raikkonen’s prediction that this week’s Rally Germany being among his toughest events of the season has come true, with the former Formula 1 world champion struggling to match the pace of the frontrunners.
On the World Rally Championship’s previous asphalt event in Bulgaria, Raikkonen had run as high as fourth, but he is currently lying seventh in Germany. The Finn has struggled to find confidence through the morning’s three stages.
“I always knew this would be the toughest of the four asphalt events and it’s exactly like I thought,” said the Citroen driver.
Raikkonen’s co-driver Kaj Lindstrom said: “It’s been quite difficult, finding the braking point is hard: we’ve braked early some times, but then the next time the surface and grip level is quite different.
“The last stage of the loop was the best, Kimi had more confidence in there, but all the time the surface is changing and the grip level is going up and down. On top of that, there’s a lot of gravel and mud being pulled into the road by the cars ahead – the road is completely different to when the safety crews have gone through.”
Rally Germany is completely different in character to Rally Bulgaria which offered consistent surfaces and grip levels. Lindstrom said the Citroen Junior Team would be making changes to the C4 at service.
RÄIKKÖNEN K. / LINDSTRÖM K. “It feels better now, more confidence.”
RÄIKKÖNEN K. / LINDSTRÖM K. “Morning I was driving very bad, I should improve on the afternoon. Think it should be good tomorrow.”
Raikkonen and Ogier off to a solid start in Germany
After the traditionally popular ceremonial start in front of the Porta Nigra – a city gate that dates from Roman times – the Rallye Deutschland got underway this morning from Trier for an opening day that consisted of 134.04 competitive kilometres, made up of two challenging loops of three stages.
On consistently dry roads, with temperatures peaking at 27°C during the afternoon, the Citroën Junior Team opted for soft tyres on the first loop of stages, followed by hard tyres for the second loop. In fact, all the leading drivers made exactly the same tyre choice on day one.
Kimi Räikkönen got off to a sensible start on what was only his second World Championship asphalt rally. “My priority was not to make any mistakes; this is also the objective for the whole rally,” he said. “The drivers at the front are setting a really quick pace, but I’m here to learn and make progress. The first loop of stages allowed me to get off to a good start and get used to using the handbrake on the many hairpin bends.”
The Finn’s step-by-step approach paid dividends. He improved his times by 0.7, 0.6 and then 1.0 seconds per kilometre over each of the three stages respectively in the afternoon. “We’re picking up a better pace,” said the former Grand Prix champion. “I felt comfortable in the Citroën C4 WRC and I was able to go a bit quicker without taking any risks. Tomorrow the stages will be very difficult and once more entirely new to me. We’ll have to see how it all goes.”
Citroën Junior Team manager Benoit Nogier concluded: “Leaving aside the small mechanical problem that cost him around 15 seconds or so this morning, Sébastien Ogier has once more had a great first day. He’s heading towards third place behind the two factory Citroëns, which are in a league of their own here. A podium would be an amazing result for his debut in Germany with the C4 WRC. Kimi Räikkönen is going up against drivers who already know this event very well. He paid for that lack of experience in the morning but made a lot of progress this afternoon and didn’t make any mistakes. Now he needs to carry on like this.”
KIMI ENJOYS HIS FIRST TASTE OF GERMANY
Germany’s Rallye Deutschland, round nine of the World Rally Championship and only the second asphalt event for Red Bull’s former Grand Prix champion Kimi Raikkonen, is well-known for providing three days of stark contrasts.
What else do you expect from a country that boasts over 1500 different types of sausage? The average German gets through more than 30 kilos of sausage annually, meaning that it would take only 41 people to eat the equivalent weight in sausages of Kimi’s Citroen C4 World Rally Car in one year.
Some of the types of sausage available in Germany would not be to everybody’s taste. Gehirnwurst is a sausage made mostly out of pig’s brain. Or alternatively there is Hertzwurst, for those who prefer pig’s heart. And then you get some quite unexpected ingredients too. Weisswurst, for example, is a sausage whose constituents include cream and eggs.
For Kimi, the diet today was made up of six tough asphalt stages around Trier, where the Rallye Deutschland has traditionally been based. ‘The Iceman’ started the day’s action eighth on the road – and that proved to be slightly problematic for him as the stages went on. With so many leading competitors in front, Kimi had to cope with a large amount of stones and loose gravel thrown up onto the road that made the surface extremely slippery and unstable.
On only his second World Championship asphalt rally, it wasn’t easy for him to find the right braking points compared to the other more experienced drivers. Nonetheless, ‘the Iceman’ kept his cool. At the end of the first day he was eighth: comfortably in the points and with only a small gap to the person in front. There’s still a long way to go and everything left to play for.
“Even before coming here, I knew that Germany would be the most difficult of the asphalt rallies because it is very specialised, and I was certainly right about that,” said Kimi. “It’s quite a strange rally, because each one of the three days is very different and has its own specific things. Here you need experience, so the main thing for me is obviously to get to the finish. It helps if you have a very good feeling for these roads, like Sebastien Loeb who has won here since the rally first joined the World Championship. We’ve obviously got a lot of work still to do, especially compared to him, but it was already getting better in the afternoon and it’s just a question of building up the kilometres. We didn’t make any real mistakes so I’m quite happy. Tomorrow we’re going to try and carry on like this, but of course tomorrow is also a completely different type of day, so effectively we have to start learning all over again!”
Co-driver Kaj Lindstrom has plenty of experience in Germany but he did not finish his last Rallye Deutschland in 2003: a statistic that he is hoping to remedy on this occasion.
“We’ve got off to a good start, but it’s not been an easy day,” said the Finn in the right-hand seat. “The main thing is that we’ve made no mistakes and had a clean run through the stages. We’ve been making more progress with the pace notes and although the stages today were not straightforward, we worked very well together and I think we’ve got a solid base to move forwards from now. Our aim is to get some points here in Germany, and so far we’re on course to do that. Let’s just keep it going…”
"We are getting there, we were a little rusty this morning," says Kaj Lindstrom, co-driver to Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn sets a time of 14:27.9.
"Better than morning."
RÄIKKÖNEN K. / LINDSTRÖM K: "Not easy, for sure the second pass was much easier to improve. But too slow notes, it should be faster than I expected."
"The second pass through the stages was much easier but we have to learn this rally so it’s been okay,"
Just as was the case in Turkey and New Zealand, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia end a day leading the overall classification. The Citroën Junior Team crew set five fastest times in seven stages and now hold a 26.6-second lead over Dani Sordo and Marc Marti in second. Kimi Räikkönen and Kaj Lindström finish the first day in 10th place.
The opening day of the Rally de Portugal started with a televised spectator superspecial on Thursday night at the Estadio Algarve, accommodating a capacity of 30,000 people. Driving their gravelspecification Citroën C4 WRCs on asphalt, Sébastien Ogier and Kimi Räikkönen set sixth and ninth fastest times respectively.
[…] Kimi Räikkönen and Kaj Lindström had to deal with a set-up that was a bit too soft for the opening loop of stages. "I was surprised by the level of grip," said Kimi. "We didn’t think that the conditions would be like this. We’re going to change the set-up to suit the stages more. I also think that our notes could sometimes be better. The second loop should be a little easier for us."
[…] As expected, Kimi Räikkönen upped his pace during the course of the afternoon. Over the three stages, he steadily reduced his time gap to the pacesetters. "Even though the roads were a bit rougher, I was able to get a bit quicker," he reported. "I’m pleased with how the first day has gone. We’re continuing to improve and the times are gradually getting better. Now we just need to carry on like this tomorrow."
[…] Benoit Nogier: “Kimi started the rally sensibly and then improved his pace in the afternoon. After a long time out of the car, he is getting back into the swing of things calmly and with confidence. He is approaching the rally in an intelligent way. "
Kimi Räikkönen likes golf, but he prefers to drive this rather than a golf buggy
Red Bull Rally de Portugal day one report
The tourist resorts around Faro, according to some people, resemble a Garden of Eden. There is field after field of lush green grass, interrupted only by the occasional strip of sand and deep hole.
The reason for this unusual topography is that Faro is a Mecca for golf players. They come from all over the world, dressed up in pastel jumpers, bright white shorts, and shoes that look like they were borrowed from a gangster in 1940s Chicago.
Kimi Raikkonen and his co-driver Kaj Lindstrom, Red Bull athletes on the World Rally Championship this year, are also keen golfers. But the only handicap they faced today were the tough gravel stages of the Rally de Portugal: a classic but incredibly demanding event on the World Rally Championship calendar.
Having not competed for over a month, Kimi chose to make a careful start to get used to the particularly tricky conditions. Even though it is against the genetic nature of most rally drivers, this sensible approach paid off and Kimi was rewarded with a provisional place in the points at the overnight halt. His firm aim is to get to the end, so it was a perfect start. Now, he just has to keep it all going for the next two days.
"From the beginning, my idea was to get to the finish of today without any problems," said the ‘iceman’. "We didn’t push so hard and we did everything we needed to do. It’s still very tough for me as I’m just starting out in rallying so it’s important to be sure of getting plenty of kilometres. Probably the most difficult thing about today is that the grip has been changing a lot, and so it helped when we were able to do the stages again in the afternoon. We also changed the suspension set-up at midday, going a bit stiffer. It was basically OK for the first day, but I still need to get some more speed. I didn’t have so much confidence in the morning but it was definitely better in the afternoon."
Kimi’s co-driver Kaj Lindstrom has years of experience of controlling excited drivers: a skill that proved to be very useful on the undulating gravel roads close to Faro.
"The afternoon was better than the morning," said Kaj. "We found a lot of improvement and the driving confidence was there, which was good. We made some small changes to the pace notes but nothing massive. Kimi handled everything well."
However, the Portuguese adventure is only just beginning – because the experienced Kaj had some words of warning about what to expect over the next two days and 11 stages. Hot temperatures are predicted over the weekend, which only add to the challenge.
"The stages we did today were actually the easiest of the whole rally," said the man who sits in the navigator’s seat. "It’s going to get more and more difficult on Saturday and Sunday, so the really hard part is still to come!"
A final word about golf. Most golfers in the resorts around Faro are male, with comparatively few women out on the courses. One theory is that the name of the game stands for ‘gentlemen only, ladies forbidden.’
This is pure fiction One look at the male golfers near Faro is enough to tell that not all of them are gentlemen. With the notable exception of Kimi and Kaj of course.
Räikkönen: Portugal proving tough
Red Bull driver Kimi Raikkonen has admitted the Rally of Portugal is turning out to be a bigger challenge than he expected.
The Citroen C4 WRC-driving Finn is ninth overall on the Faro-based event, but almost six minutes down on the leader after this afternoon’s first of three stages.
Ahead of the event, Raikkonen acknowledged that his fifth event with the Citroen Junior Team would be among the toughest – but it has exceeded his expectations.
"It is much more difficult here than on the previous rallies," said Raikkonen. "There are so many corners on the top of the crest and then the surface is changing a lot with the grip level changing too. It’s the toughest of the year.
"I came here to find experience and that’s what I’m doing. We’re not going to take big risks, I want to learn."
Raikkonen’s co-driver Kaj Lindstrom said he was pleased with his driver’s progress between the morning and afternoon loops of stages.
"On Friday morning, maybe we were a little bit too safe," he said, "but we need time in the car. We didn’t do New Zealand, we only did a small test before here and this is the first time Kimi has been to this event. His progress is coming, it’s better in the afternoon.
"This is not an easy rally to come and learn, either. If it’s the fast stuff, like Finland, it’s no problem, he has the balls for that kind of stuff, but when it’s a technical rally and quite slow, it’s not so easy – especially with so many blind crests and things like this.
"I’m happy, though, he’s listening to the notes, we’ve made good notes and everything is okay."
WRC Pirelli driver blog – Kimi Räikkönen
Blog three: Wednesday 7 April. 0900 hrs.
"Looking back on it now, I think I would have been quite surprised if somebody had told me before the season that the first drivers’ points I would score would come in Jordan. Of all the rallies I did so far it was the most difficult, but still I ended up with four points for finishing eighth.
Rallying seems to be one of these sports where the more you learn, the less you know. What I mean is that just when you think you have one problem solved, you realise how much further you have to go.
But actually, this is exactly how I imagined it would be. I never expected to come in and be straight into the front, just as I wouldn’t expect somebody like Sebastien Loeb to come into Formula One and be straight at the front. Most drivers are naturally impatient – you want everything, now. But when you start something from the beginning, you have to control that impulse.
I’m actually enjoying the process of learning all over again; it’s like my early days in Formula One. It’s not that Formula One got boring for me, but you get very used to something if you do it for long enough, and rallying has given me a great change of scene at a time when I needed it.
As for the future…who knows? I’m not even thinking about it. At some point in the year, maybe halfway through it, I’ll have to start thinking about what to do next, but until then there’s no point in worrying about it. Let’s just say that for the moment I’m very happy doing what I’m doing. Rallying has always been a dream of mine since I was a kid, and now I get the chance to live my dream. How many people can say that? Motor sport is so pressured and commercial all the time, that it’s easy to forget the reason why you started to do it in the first place; because it’s the most fun you can have. This year is all about that for me.
I have a bit of time off now before the Rally of Turkey, which I think should be a slightly more straightforward event for us than Jordan. From what I hear the surfaces there should be more consistent, which will help me a lot, although the temperatures are going to be the same – or maybe even hotter. Although I sweat quite a lot that’s never really bothered me: I mostly don’t notice it. This ice man doesn’t melt…"
Räikkönen set for more points, says team chief
Kimi Raikkonen’s team boss believes the ex-Formula One star’s points’ finish on the Jordan Rally will be the first of many in this year’s World Rally Championship.
Raikkonen finished eighth on the gravel event last weekend in his Red Bull-backed Citroen C4 WRC. He is now 11th in the drivers’ standings, one place behind Super 2000 World Rally Championship pacesetter Xevi Pons.
Benoit Nogier, who runs the Citroen Junior Team, said: “I am very happy for Kimi to finish with this result. He drove very well on this rally and getting the car to the finish in one piece was very important. The fact he scored points was the cherry on the cake and I believe this will be the first of many occasions when he is in the points this season.”
Kimi Räikkönen scores his first WRC points in Jordan
Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia ran first on the road throughout the final day of the Jordan Rally, with the aim of helping Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena to claim their 56th event victory in the FIA World Rally Championship. Ogier and Ingrassia finished sixth, ahead of Kimi Räikkönen and Kaj Lindström – who scored their first points with eighth place overall in the other Citroën Junior Team C4 WRC.
The long final day of the Jordan Rally was feared by all the crews. A total of eight special stages were on the schedule, making up 105.5 competitive kilometres.
Kimi Räikkönen and Kaj Lindström continued their efforts on a surface that was very hard to understand; especially for a beginner. “We didn’t push hard today as there was little left to gain,” said Räikkönen. “It was important just to learn and gain more experience on this surface.”
By the end of the Jordan Rally – only his third World Rally Championship event at the wheel of the Citroën Junior Team C4 WRC – the 2007 Formula 1 World Champion had scored his first WRC points. “It was an extremely difficult rally with the most complex special stages I have ever had to drive” added Räikkönen. “But we eventually achieved our objective of getting to the finish without making any big mistakes. I’m feeling more comfortable in the Citroën C4 WRC every day.”
Citroën Junior Team manager Benoit Nogier concluded: “First of all, we’re delighted to see both our Citroën C4 WRCs at the finish after some encouraging performances. Kimi has scored points by getting to the end of a very complicated rally without making any big mistakes. He is feeling more and more comfortable with the car with every kilometre. The performance will come with time and experience. Sébastien did what he had to do. He doesn’t have any championship aspirations. Instead his goal is to demonstrate that he is capable of mixing it with the best, and I think he showed that once more this weekend.”
Rally Jordan. First WRC points for Kimi Räikkönen
He did it, finally.
Kimi Räikkönen and Kaj Lindström scored their first points with eighth place overall in the Red Bull Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC.
Kimi Räikkönen and Kaj Lindström continued their efforts on a surface that was very hard to understand; especially for a beginner. “We didn’t push hard today as there was little left to gain,” said Räikkönen. “It was important just to learn and gain more experience on this surface. ”
By the end of the Jordan Rally – only his third World Rally Championship event at the wheel of the Citroën Junior Team C4 WRC – the 2007 Formula 1 World Champion had scored his first WRC points.
“It was an extremely difficult rally with the most complex special stages I have ever had to drive” added Räikkönen. “But we eventually achieved our objective of getting to the finish without making any big mistakes. I’m feeling more comfortable in the Citroën C4 WRC every day ”
First WRC points for Räikkönen
Former Formula One champion Kimi Raikkonen says he achieved all he set out to in the Jordan Rally, and believes the experience gained will stand him in good stead on the next round in Turkey.
Raikkonen’s debut WRC season with the Citroen Junior Team got off to a shaky start in Sweden when he drove into a snow bank, and got worse on the next round in Mexico when he rolled his C4 WRC off the road. But in Jordan, only his eighth-ever rally, a largely mistake-free performance netted him a top ten result.
Eighth place was Raikkonen’ best finish in the World Rally Championship, and secured him his first drivers’ championship points.
The 339 competitive kilometres of the Jordan Rally was the longest time that the former Grand Prix champion has ever spent in a rally car on gravel, and now he is looking forward to more action in Turkey at the end of the month.
"From the beginning my goal was to get to the end of the rally and I’m really pleased that we’ve been able to do that even though the conditions were difficult," said Raikkonen. "As the stages went on I’ve learned more and more, and my confidence has grown bigger as well. We came to Jordan with very little experience of the car on gravel and now we’ve practically doubled it. I’m getting to know the car better now, but the important thing as well is that I’ve really enjoyed these three days. We’re making progress, which is why we are here, and hopefully this will continue on the next round in Turkey."
Kimi’s co-driver Kaj Lindstrom also enjoyed his first visit to the Jordan Rally, scoring his first points as a co-driver since finishing third with the legendary four-time World Champion Tommi Makinen on the 2003 Rally Great Britain.
"It’s been a very good event for us," added Kaj. "Kimi’s speed has been really impressive for someone who has hardly been driving any rallies at all: he’s already doing the same sort of times as people with much more experience. The key to this event was just making sure that we got to the end with no mistakes – and this is only the start. We’re going to be seeing a lot more of Kimi in the future…"
Commenti dopo le prove della mattinata:
Kimi Raikkonen: "It was going well, but there was a lot of dust and then i missed a hairpin turn and stalled the engine, which cost me some time [SS10]. These are not easy stages, but it is going better than yesterday."
Kimi Raikkonen’s co-driver Kaj Lindstrom speaking to WRC radio: "Today is going better than yesterday. We made some mistake with the pace notes, but this morning we were more confident and it went better. This surface is new for Kimi and it is just another thing for him to learn. I enjoy seeing the potential in Kimi. We know he is a very talented driver. He is making small steps in improvement and it is nteresting for me to see a driver of his calbre continue to progress."
Commento dopo la SS12: Kimi Raikkonen : "It hasn’t been easy, but it is getting better. You have to good pace notes to go fast. It was tough yesterday, but we’re getting on."
Commento dopo la SS13: RAIKKÖNEN K. / LINDSTROM K. "We had spin maybe 3kms from finish. Otherwise it goes well."
Co-driver praises Räikkönen progress
Kimi Raikkonen’s co-driver Kaj Lindstrom has praised the Finn’s improvements in making pace notes during the Jordan Rally.
Following his switch from Formula 1 to the World Rally Championship, it was widely expected that one of the biggest challenges facing Raikkonen would be making accurate and consistent pace notes on the two reconnaissance runs the crews make ahead of the competition.
Lindstrom said his driver’s notes were as good as the front-running WRC crews during this week’s Jordan Rally. Lindstrom was even more pleased as the Dead Sea-based event is renowned as one of the toughest rallies on which to make notes courtesy of the barren, featureless roads.
Lindstrom said: "So far on this event we have made only five changes to the notes from the first run to the second run. I think some of the drivers at the front have probably made more changes than that. It’s really good, I’m very pleased with the progress he has made."
Raikkonen, whose Red Bull-backed Citroen C4 WRC is eighth going into the final day of the event, admitted there was still room for improvement, saying: "Of course they can still be better, but it’s still early days – we need more experience. One of the keys to go fast is with the notes and here it has been difficult to make notes.
"It’s been the hardest event so far to make notes on, but then again every rally I’ve done so far has been the hardest in my career, we have to learn."
Raikkonen added the loose gravel on the Middle East roads had made the going even tougher than expected. He said: "We have done some days in the car in the gravel, but that has been normal gravel, yesterday was very slippery. We need more experience of these conditions."
Raikkonen’s only problem was a half-spin in the final stage today.
[…] Kimi Räikkönen took advantage of some slightly softer settings in order to make consistent progress. “We’re just trying to find the right pace,” he said. “The first two stages passed without any problems. At the start of the long stage, I was held up by the dust from the competitor in front of me and I went straight on at a junction. The surface is slippery but I’m very pleased with the adjustments made by the team. The car is softer and I feel a bit more comfortable with it. ” […]
Kimi was sixth-fastest and then seventh-fastest on the two runs through Suwayma, gaining a bit more experience today. “It was a bit better than yesterday,” he reported. “Right from the start of the recce, we knew that this would be a particularly tricky rally. We just need to learn and rack up more kilometres on all the different surfaces. We had a spin at the end of the day but the important thing is still to be here in the evening. ”
Citroën Junior Team manager Benoit Nogier concluded: “Today has picked up from where we left off previously. Starting from second on the road this morning, Sébastien was a little quicker than Latvala. We would have preferred him to start from a slightly more favourable road position tomorrow, but circumstances worked against us. Kimi showed himself to be consistent, setting times that were close to those of other more experienced competitors. It’s important to remember that this is only his second gravel event in the car on the WRC. It’s also worthy of note that neither of our C4 WRCs have suffered from the slightest mechanical problem. The cars are both quick and reliable."
Kimi Räikkönen learns all about Jordan Rally after successful second day
Knowledge is power. The more that Kimi Raikkonen finds out about the Jordan Rally, the quicker he seems to get. He has now completed two full days in the car: the longest time he has ever spent in it on gravel in competition. And he set times that were in the top 10 from start to finish today, ending up eighth overall.
"For me it’s just learning, as I’ve said from the very beginning," he pointed out. "I needed to have more time in the car and also the stages today were a bit easier for me than yesterday. You need time to learn about the roads and what the place is like, so this is what we have been doing and the performances are gradually getting better. The more you know, the more confident you feel. Rallying is all about experience, and today has been very good." […]
Come confermato anche da Benoit Nogier della Citroen, Kimi si trovava al volante della Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX che il team utilizza per provare il tracciato, quando è entrato in collisione con un’altra vettura, causando un incidente che comunque è stato definito di piccola entità.
“Ieri c’è stato un piccolo incidente. Non nel percorso di una speciale, ma lungo la strada che vi ci conduceva” ha detto Nogier. “Kimi si è accorto in ritardo di un bivio, ma quando ha iniziato a girare è arrivato un altro concorrente è c’è stata una leggera collisione. A riprova dell’entità dell’incidente, la macchina ha riportato pochissimi danni, che abbiamo potuto riparare dopo che Kimi ha provato il tratto della speciale”.
Räikkönen in minor recce incident
The Citroen Junior team has played down a minor collision that Kimi Raikkonen was involved in during the recce for the Swedish Rally yesterday.
Swedish media reported that the former Formula 1 world champion, who starts his World Rally Championship switch with this weekend’s Karlstad-based event, had been in collision with another car while driving the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX that the team uses for recce duties.
Citroen’s Benoit Nogier confirmed that the incident had taken place, but said it had only been a minor brush between the two vehicles.
"There was a small incident yesterday," Nogier told AUTOSPORT. "It was not in a stage, it was on the road to a stage.
"Kimi almost missed a junction and was in the process of starting to turn around when another competing car came into the same junction and there was a small impact.
"There was no problem with Kimi’s car. He came through the stage with no problem and then the mechanics made some small repair to the car after the stage.
"There was no danger of Kimi not being able to drive the car, it was never that bad."
Raikkonen’s WRC switch commences in earnest when the Swedish Rally gets underway with a superspecial tomorrow night.
Anche Loeb protagonista di un’incidente, un’uscita in un fosso: http://www.vf.se/Sport/Varmland/Loeb-i-diket-och-Raikkonen-i-krock-100209.aspx