Kimi Räikkönen hopes to compete in Rally Finland
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."
Sogno già infranto però.
Lotus Formula 1 team denies Kimi Raikkonen permission to contest Rally Finland
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: a potential unfulfilled
By returning to Formula One following two seasons in the World Rally Championship the itch has been scratched for Kimi Raikkonen – but to what extent that has provided relief remains to be seen.
Ousted (but still paid for) by Ferrari at the end of 2009, he explained that the circumstances were finally right for him to get a few answers to some questions he had been asking himself for a while: would his sublime natural talent and his inherent speed translate just as fluently to rally stages as it did to a race track?
Circuit racing came as naturally to Kimi as breathing: when he made his Formula One debut, he only had 23 car races behind him – a fact that caused some consternation among his colleagues.
“I wanted to try rallying; I don’t have to be so serious about it,” says Raikkonen. “I was always curious to know if I could stay on the road and keep pushing. It was very different from Formula One.”
His detractors would say that it proved to be too different, but Kimi knew what to expect.
“On a circuit you know every inch of it and it doesn’t really change from lap to lap. You do exactly the same things every time. On a rally everything is different. There are no corners that are the same: even a right 2 will not be the same corner as the next right 2. Of course you have much less margin for error.”
In the end, two years was never really going to be enough to make it to the top: as his co-driver Kaj Lindstrom warned him, this was going to be a three-year project or longer. People will say that Sebastien Loeb or Sebastien Ogier were instantly quick in a World Rally Car for the first time, but they conveniently forget the thousands of stage kilometres that will have been driven on national rallies and in testing, as well as the inherent ease that these drivers have with pace notes.
Given that Kimi never even liked engineers talking to him over the radio in Formula One, and that the sum of his rallying experience now puts him roughly where Jari-Matti Latvala was when he was 20, the Iceman’s results have been pretty impressive, with consistent top six finishes this year.
Extrapolating the trajectory of his learning curve, next year he could well have been in a position to challenge for podiums, with the chance of a win perhaps coming in 2013.
The highs were his fifth place on Turkey – only his fourth WRC event – and a debut stage win on the Circus Maximus superspecial in Germany; the lows included the shakedown accident that put him out of RallyRACC-Rally de Espana last year and a banal road section accident that curtailed his activities in France.
Whatever you think about Kimi, it’s impossible to deny that his star quality has made a huge impact on the World Rally Championship and that he’s finally answered his own question. Yes he can do it – but it’s hardly the work of a moment.
Da YLE.fi, traduzione Nicole@KRForum Ufficiale
Latvala: They put way too much pressure on Kimi
According to Latvala they put way too much pressure on Räikkönen in the rally-circles.
- Kimi brought the genre a lot of media-visibility and a lot of new fans. Even many reporters who had never before followed rally started to follow it, Latvala said to YLE Urheilu.
- When Kimi came to rally they put way too much pressure on him. Little by little he started to relax but the expectations placed on him were way too hard.
According to Latvala the Iceman’s motivation seemed to go downhill during the autumn.
- Let’s just say that I started to notice how Kimi’s motivation towards rallying started to take off during the last races. Maybe him not being satisfied with the results and his F1-thoughts had something to do with it.
Da Elisa.net, traduzione Nicole@KRForum Ufficiale
"Räikkönen drove completely reasonable times"
They believe that Kimi Räikkönen’s rallying career is over for now when he is seriously negotiating about a comeback to F1. Kimi drove in WRC for only two seasons but the difference to the top has been several minutes. His best result is Rally Turkey in 2010 when he came in 5th.
SWRC-serie’s world champion from this year, Juho Hänninen with Skoda, was often faster than Räikkönen although Räikkönen drove in a class higher with a WRC-car. Still Hänninen thinks that Räikkönen’s performances in rally were good.
- I think that it was a realistic result. Maybe the majority expected more and I bet Kimi himself also expected more, however Kimi realised pretty quickly that it isn’t that easy. Still he made good times especially when driving a stage for the second time since he remembered them better. That’s when he drove completely reasonable times, Hänninen told Sport Content.
Hänninen reminded that rallying requires a lot of training and that it takes several years to develop into a top driver.
- Nobody can succeed in this without practice, Hänninen said.
It was fun while it lasted, but the adventure is over – Kimi Raikkonen is leaving the forests and heading back to Formula 1 with Renault, or rather Lotus, as the team becomes in 2012.
Two years ago, it had all seemed so promising. The world knew Raikkonen was ultra-rapid but had lost motivation in F1. It was the politics and the sponsor pressure that he appeared to have tired of, not the driving, and he loved dabbling in rallying on the side. The World Rally Championship gave him a chance to get back to pure driving, in a more laidback atmosphere in which he could thrive in time – especially with Citroen, Red Bull and Kaj Lindstrom behind him.
It wasn’t just going to be good for Kimi’s morale either: the arrival of such a big name was a massive publicity bonus for the WRC and saw a huge number of hitherto disinterested new fans heading to the stages or tuning in to Rally Radio to follow Raikkonen’s rise to the top in his new challenge.
Except it didn’t quite work out like that. Inevitably Raikkonen was some way off Citroen Junior team-mate Sebastien Ogier’s pace in 2010, and inevitably he went off the road a lot as he got to grips with such a different discipline. But this was nothing that time, patience and mileage couldn’t fix, especially as there were flashes of promising speed along the way.
Time was what the WRC and Raikkonen marriage did not have, though. It wasn’t far into 2011 before it became clear that his heart was elsewhere. There were rallies skipped (missing Australia meant his Ice 1 team was kicked out of the standings) and events not rejoined under superally even when it was easily possible and the extra mileage would’ve been so beneficial. It was the extra-curricular outings that were most telling, though. Whereas once rallying had been Raikkonen’s release from the drudgery of F1, now he was popping up in NASCAR Trucks and Peugeot LMP1 cars as an escape from the WRC – and also becoming pivotal to the F1 driver market. Even as he did so, his stage times got a little better, and his demeanour with fans and the WRC media became slightly more open (by Iceman standards), hinting at what might have been.
So farewell and good luck, Kimi. We would’ve loved to see you stick around, give rallying a proper chance and really hone your skills, but it was better to have had you with us for two years than not at all.
Lindström: "F1 is Kimi’s world"
To Kaj Lindström the news about the return to F1 did not come as a surprise.
Lindström doesn’t want to specify when Kimi told him about his decision. Lindström didn’t try to talk the F1-champion out of it.
- It was Kimi’s decision, I respect it. Great that he got a good contract, Lindström said to Iltalehti.
According to Lindström Räikkönen would have had a chance to go forward in rally if he had decided to continue in the sport. Lindström has earlier talked about rally as at least a 4-year project if the goal is to succeed. The co-driver doesn’t fret though that the cooperation ended.
- We went year at a time, that was clear from the start. You don’t instantly jump to the top. There was two great and sweet years. It was nice to work and drive with Kimi, Lindström thanked.
"Kimi will do fine"
Although Räikkönen was believed to enjoy himself better in rally’s more barren environment than in F1’s society, according to Lindström that is not exactly the case.
- F1 is his world. I think he might be more comfortable there.
Lindström learned to know Räikkönen during the two years. That’s why he’s going to follow next F1-season with a special interest, with "very different feelings".
Predictions about success he is not going to give though.
- I had to compare the sports for two years until boredom, although I have never sat in a F1-car, so it’s difficult to comment on that. The driver at least is talented, so I’m pretty sure he’ll do fine, Lindström laughed.
Da iltalehti.fi, traduzione Leijona@F1CoffeForum
Räikkönen still has hunger for rally
How is it Kimi Räikkönen, would it be time for podiums next year if your career would happen to continue in WRC?
- The top of five goes fast but I guess I would develop if I would still drive for one more season. It’s difficult to say what results I would achieve. I guess the level would go up and the speed would go forward, Räikkönen speculated in the service park in Builth Wells.
- We have improved all the time. It’s important. If I would want to drive the same speed as the top, then I would have to test a lot and drive all the time. Yet we haven’t gone into this so that we would be driving with the taste of blood in the mouth, Räikkönen reminds.
- I do everything I can but I have to know myself where we are. It’s not wise to go and do something stupid, Räikkönen describes his rally speed.
No disappointment, own fault
- Muddy braking in downhill, from where the car slided into a soft bank. The driving line was wide and there was too much mud, Räikkönen thinks. Nothing new from F1 -There are no contracts or plans for next season, Räikkönen says.
Räikkönen and Kaj Lindström got the car back on the road with the help of spectators, but the journey ended quickly. The power transmission got too severe hits in the off, so it wasn’t possible to continue.
- It doesn’t disappoint me, my own fault, Räikkönen said.
Then is it possible that your career continues in rally next season?
-Of course. I have enjoyed myself here.
- Muddy braking in downhill, from where the car slided into a soft bank. The driving line was wide and there was too much mud, Räikkönen thinks.
Nothing new from F1
-There are no contracts or plans for next season, Räikkönen says.
Da MTV3.fi, traduzione Nicole@KRForumUfficiale
Kimi about future plans: "We are chatting with many places"
- I don’t have any plans. Lets see what happens and what we do, Räikkönen summed up.
According to Räikkönen he doesn’t have any timetable for his future decisions.
Rally is also one of the options.
- I’ve liked it here. I wouldn’t have been here if I didn’t.
Räikkönen admitted earlier this week that he has been in contact with Williams but emphasized that there is nothing concrete.
- We always chat to many places and negotiate, but until there is a contract it’s useless to talk about them.
According to his own words, Kaj Lindström is just as unaware of Räikkönen’s future as everybody else.
- I don’t think anyone knows it. The master hasn’t decided yet. Last year we agreed about this year in December, Lindström reminded.
Da iltalehti.fi, traduzione Nicole@KRForumUfficiale
SS12: 09:42 Raikkonen stopped in SS12
GPS tracking data indicates that Kimi Raikkonen has come to a halt before the third split point.
Räikkönen and Solberg retire in Wales
Video da MTV3: http://www.mediafire.com/?u07vwa9ah9555n6
Kimi Raikkonen and Petter Solberg won’t take any further part on Wales Rally GB following their exits from the world championship finale this morning.
Raikkonen suffered a light roll in his Citroen DS3 WRC on the opening Hafren test, while Solberg stopped prior to the run when a broken fuel pipe ignited a small fire in his similar Citroen.
Ex-Formula One world champion Raikkonen and co-driver Kaj Lindstrom, who were sixth overall prior to their exit, managed to regain the road after the roll following the intervention of a number of spectators. However, the damage sustained meant they failed to complete the 32.14.kilometre test.
SS4: RÄIKKÖNEN K. / LINDSTRÖM K. "It was bit slippery in some places. I wasn’t driving very well."
SS11: RÄIKKÖNEN K. / LINDSTRÖM K. "We thought we had a puncture, but there is something with the steering."
Da MTV3.fi, traduzione Nicole@KRForumUfficiale
Räikkönen: The driving is better
Räikkönen was happy that compared to F1 he had a roof over his head now.
- You don’t get very wet here. It’s of course a different world.
- Oh well, the driving was better. That last stage was just completely foggy, I hardly saw anything. It also rained quite a lot on the other stages.
- It’s a new day tomorrow, lets see.
They rumour Räikkönen made his decision to quit his rallying career already in rally Finland, after being frustrated in his own inability to improve. Officially the man doesn’t say anything about next year, or if we will see him in rally Wales again.
- It’s difficult to say, I have no decisions about next year, Räikkönen grunted.
Da iltalehti.fi, traduzione di Nicole@KRForumUfficiale
Kimi’s lights went off
According to Kaj Lindström Rally Wales is one of Räikkönen’s favorite rallies.
- Kimi liked this rally last year also. This is a difficult race but the more challenging, the more he likes it, Lindström told.
The opening day proceeded without any problems but then on the 3rd SS Räikkönen and Lindström got into a scary situation when the lights suddenly went off in the dark.
- We lost there because we had to brake on a straight.
According to Lindström Räikkönen was in a good mood.
- Hopefully he is that tomorrow too although he has to wake up early, Lindström laughed.
The alarm clock woke up the duo at 5 a.m. this morning. According to Linström Kimi isn’t used to early mornings.
- But if you aren’t a morning person, then you just aren’t.