Kimi Raikkonen will make his debut in the World Rally Championship this week, when he takes in the Neste Oil Rally Finland, one of the fastest and oldest events on the WRC schedule.

The Finn, who took the runners-up spot in Hungary on Sunday, finishing 11.5 seconds behind Lewis Hamilton's McLaren-Mercedes, will swap his Ferrari F1 car for a Fiat Grande Punto Super 2000 - the same spec car as will be driven by Anton Alen.

Raikkonen will be co-driven by the experienced Kaj Lindstrom, who formerly partnered multiple world champion Tommi Makinen and while he may be a WRC virgin, he will at least be familiar with his mount having driven the Grande Punto on his previous rally outings at national level.

Furthermore while his most recent rally outing, an asphalt debut in Italy was cut short by a mechanical problem, the 29-year old does have two other events under his belt.

"I think it will be a completely different thing [to anything I have done before]. I have done a few rallies but it is like club races compared to the Rally Finland," said Raikkonen prior to last weekend's F1 race at the Hungaroring.

"I will just go there and have fun and hopefully we are going to make it to the end. That would be nice."

His comments echo those made by the 'ice man' back at the start of July: "I want to thank Ferrari for giving me the possibility to participate in the 1000 Lakes Rally with the Fiat Grande Punto Abarth," he added back then.

"It will be my debut in a championship rally. As we don't have any tests now during the F1 season we've got plenty of spare time and it's nice to participate in a race to keep busy.

"I have already tested over the last few days, but my approach remains the same: it has nothing to do with F1, it is pure pleasure."

Red Bull Racing's Mark Webber meanwhile is full of admiration and has wished his rival the best of luck for the 345 kilometre event, which begins on Thursday night with the short super special stage at the Killeri trotting track.

"I think it's a real credit to Kimi that he's having a crack at it," stated Webber. "It's a really brave thing to do.

"I wish Kimi all the best for tackling one of the hardest rallies in the world. We should take our hats off to him, so good luck with it."


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