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Raikkonen eyes finish on WRC debut

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."



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari F60, Spanish F1 Grand Prix, Catalunya, 8th-10th, May, 2009
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari F60, British F1, Silverstone, 19th-21st, June, 2009
21.05.2017 - 1st place Sébastien Ogier (FRA)-Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team, 2nd place Thierry Neuville (BEL)-Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, Hyundai Motorsport and 3rd place Dani Sordo (ESP)-Marc Marti (ESP),Hyundai i2 Coupe WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
21.05.2017 - Fabio Andolfi (ITA) Manuel Fenoli (ITA) HYUNDAI i20 R5, ACI TEAM ITALIA
21.05.2017 - HIROKI ARAI (JPN) - GLENN MACNEALL (AUS) FORD FIESTA R5, TOMMI MÄKINEN RACING
21.05.2017 - HIROKI ARAI (JPN) - GLENN MACNEALL (AUS) FORD FIESTA R5, TOMMI MÄKINEN RACING
21.05.2017 - TEEMU SUNINEN (FIN) - MIKKO MARKKULA (FIN) FORD FIESTA R5, M-SPORT WORLD RALLY TEAM
21.05.2017 - Pontus Tidemand (SWE)-Jonas Andersson (SWE) Skoda Fabia R5 WRC2, Skoda Motorsport
21.05.2017 - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR)-Anders Jaeger (NOR) SKODA FABIA R5, SKODA MOTORSPORT
21.05.2017 - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR)-Anders Jaeger (NOR) SKODA FABIA R5, SKODA MOTORSPORT
21.05.2017 - JEAN-MICHEL RAOUX (FRA) - THOMAS ESCARTEFIGUE (FRA) CITROEN DS3 WRC
21.05.2017 - Valeriy Gorban (UKR)-Sergei Larens (EST) BMW‐Mini John Cooper Works, Eurolamp World Rally Team
21.05.2017 - Martin Prokop (CZE) - Jan Tomanek (CZE) Ford Fiesta RS WRC, ONEBET JIPOCAR WORLD RALLY TEAM
21.05.2017 - Martin Prokop (CZE) - Jan Tomanek (CZE) Ford Fiesta RS WRC, ONEBET JIPOCAR WORLD RALLY TEAM
21.05.2017 - SHEIK KHALID AL QASSIMI (ARE) - CHRIS PATTERSON (GBR) CITROEN C3 WRC, CITROËN TOTAL ABU DHABI WRT
21.05.2017 - SHEIK KHALID AL QASSIMI (ARE) - CHRIS PATTERSON (GBR) CITROEN C3 WRC, CITROËN TOTAL ABU DHABI WRT
21.05.2017 - Mads Ostberg (NOR)-Ola Floene (NOR) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team
21.05.2017 - Mads Ostberg (NOR)-Ola Floene (NOR) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team

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Dafydd Larcombe - Unregistered

July 28, 2009 3:04 PM

I wish him all the very best. I think Kimi can be one of the most talented Alternative motorsports celebrity drivers to compete in the WRC, possibly eclipsing Rossi. Im excited to hear Kaj saying that Kimi wants to know if he can compete at the proper level, he certainly has the resources, Tommy Makkinene Racing, a good car and one of the sports best co drivers. Finland is the one event I didnt do that I always wanted so much to do, who knows, maybe I will do it in the not to distant future. The buzz is fantastic in Finland, its like no other Rally, its going to be especially good this year I think, im off to the Airport to get on my plane to Helsinki, I cant wait to get there!!



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