Crash.Net WRC News
Raikkonen really pleased with Turkey top-five
19 April 2010
Former Ferrari and McLaren F1 man Kimi Raikkonen took a brilliant fifth place finish on the Rally of Turkey this weekend, his second points' finish in succession after he broke his duck two weeks ago in Jordan.
Raikkonen, who of course only started rallying last year and who was competing in only his ninth-ever rally, beat several drivers with far more experience during the three-day event and he set some very competitive times.
Indeed he was in the top ten in every single test, his best individual stage result coming at the end of the first day, when he was fifth quickest in the short 2.20 kilometre Istanbul super special stage.
He eventually finished around 2 minutes off his Citroen Junior team-mate, Sebastien Ogier, who was fourth, and over a minute up on Federico Villagra and Matt Wilson, who were sixth and seventh respectively in their Ford Focus RS WRC cars.
"I'm really pleased with the way it's gone," said Raikkonen. "There was nothing particularly special; we just paid good attention to the pace notes and made sure that we made no mistakes.
"The stages were really tough, particularly on the last day when it was very muddy: it felt like driving on ice. I'm learning all the time though and that's a really nice feeling: a bit like my early days of circuit racing.
"I am feeling more and more confident with the Citroen C4 WRC and I was very happy with the pace that we are able to maintain without taking any risks. We were able to get closer to the drivers who are in front of us, which is our key objective. The hard work we have done with the team is now paying off. We've got a few weeks now before our next rally [as I am not doing Rally New Zealand] but our goal remains unchanged: we will have to continue to improve."
Citroen Junior Team manager, Benoit Nogier and Raikkonen's co-driver Kaj Lindstrom meanwhile were both impressed with the 2007 F1 world champion's latest performance in the WRC.
"Kimi has driven his best rally since the start of the season. It wasn't only a rally of attrition; he got past some of his rivals on pure pace and that is the proof that he is making progress," said Nogier. "It's very encouraging."
"It's been really nice to be involved in a new project from the very beginning, and to help a driver develop in rallying," added Lindstrom. "The fact that it is with Kimi and Red Bull just makes it all the more special for me.
"I have to say that he has been really impressive on this event: you would never guess that he has so little experience in a rally car. I know that we can build on this progress now."