Having announced he will take a sabbatical from F1 for the 2010 season, Kimi Raikkonen is reported to be closing in a deal that will see him contest the entire World Rally Championship next season.

Raikkonen departed Ferrari at the end of the 2009 F1 campaign after the Scuderia elected to bring Fernando Alonso to Maranello a year ahead of schedule, with the Finn's hopes of returning to McLaren coming to an end when the Woking-based squad elected to sign Jenson Button to partner Lewis Hamilton.

With limited options available, Raikkonen took the decision to miss the 2010 campaign and now looks set to agree to a deal which would see him drive a Citroen C4 on all 13 rounds of the WRC season.

According to the official WRC website, a source close to Raikkonen has revealed that 'only small details' remain before an official announcement can be made, with the Finn's programme reported to be being funded by personal sponsor Red Bull - already a major backer of the factory Citroen team.

Raikkonen made his debut in the WRC in Finland at the wheel of a S2000 Abarth Grande Punto and ran impressively before crashing out, and former champion Petter Solberg insisted there was no reason why the former F1 champion couldn't continue that impressive pace through a full season.

"With the proper practise planning and testing I think he will adapt quickly," Solberg said. "He's a very, very good driver, and once he's learned the basics, like how to work with pace notes, I think he will surprise many people.

"We've already seen how quick he was in Finland in a Super 2000 car, and if he's in a decent World Rally Car next season I think he could finish between third and fifth on some rallies. The fact is, if you can drive, you can drive.

"This year I've driven a Formula 1 car and a Le Mans car and it's the same as rallying; you have to attack and push. You have to be on the case and you need some balls. I think it's all about understanding how to push and Kimi has proved he can do that."


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