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Raikkonen fails to score at home
1 August 2010
F1 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen came away empty-handed from Rally Finland this weekend after going off the road on day two.
Raikkonen had made a solid start to his home event and ran in the points throughout the first leg, finishing it eighth overall, 7.5 seconds off WRC legend and four-time World Rally champion, Juha Kankkunen.
However it all went wrong for the former Ferrari and McLaren F1 man right at the start of day two, when he made a mistake in a right-hand corner and slid off the road. Although his car was undamaged it took some time to get out of the ditch, as for once there wasn't a huge crowd of spectators around to help.
Furthermore while Raikkonen was trying to regain the road, he not only lost the front bumper, but both front tyres came off the rim. With only one spare wheel, Kimi and co-driver, Kaj Lindstrom then had to struggle to get the other deflated tyre back on the rim and more than 10 minutes were lost in total.
"We arrived a bit too quickly into a corner at the start of the stage," Raikkonen recalled. "The car slid towards the outside and became stuck in a ditch. It was unfortunately a place where there were no spectators nearby. Several eventually came running to help get us out. [But] we had to change a wheel in order to complete the stage and the front bumper was also broken."
That incident left him well down the order, and also led to him picking up almost four minutes in penalties. While he did still finish - something he failed to do last year on his debut here, he lost any chance of getting in the top-ten, eventually bringing his Citroen Junior Team-run C4 WRC car home in 25th place.
"It was an extremely difficult rally," Raikkonen continued. "We were a bit unlucky this morning but it is all part of the learning process. During the first day we tried not to take too many risks to be sure of making the finish, then we just got caught out on a slippery corner at the beginning of day two.
"With only two days in the rally this year there's not so much chance to make up the time lost, so from then on it was a question of getting to the finish. We were able to make a lot of progress with the pace notes, which was useful, and have more kilometres behind the wheel of the car, which is the most important thing. Of course I'm a bit disappointed as there was no real motivation today but in the end getting to the finish was the main aim. It's all about the experience."
Lindstrom meanwhile similarly tried to look on the bright side: "The really positive thing is we've continued the good work that we left off in Bulgaria. But this is a tough sport," he added. "You can have a good rally and survive all the complicated things, but then caught out by a place that is reasonably slow and straightforward, which is what happened to us today.
"We had been going very carefully during the first day and we thought that it might be possible to push a bit harder on day two. In the end we never really got the chance, as after we went off it was hard to find the same pace. We built up more experience though and above all we hope that everybody really enjoyed watching us."
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