Former F1 World champion Kimi Raikkonen has said that he was 'pleased' following his outing on the 2010 Arctic Lapland Rally last weekend, even though he crashed out on the opening day.
Raikkonen was making his debut in a WRC car and despite his off on the second stage, he bounced back and eventually finished the event, the curtain-raiser for the Finnish Rally Championship, and a rally on which the former Ferrari F1 man had finished 13th on his bow in the sport twelve months earlier in a Fiat Abarth Grande Punto S2000.
“Things didn't exactly get off to the best start as we went off the road during the second stage. But luckily there was no mechanical damage and I was able to continue in the rally,” explained Raikkonen, who will of course compete in the 2010 World Rally Championship full-time this year with the Citroen Junior Team.
“From there it got a lot better for me and we were much more consistent. We put a few more kilometres under our belt, which was vital to help us continue learning the C4 WRC. As well as being pleased by our performances I was also pleased by the way we were able to work with the team.
“We developed our set-up in the right direction and now we are going to continue our work in order to arrive in Sweden in the strongest possible position.”
Dani Sordo meanwhile was also in action in the event and he was fastest in all twelve stages in the other C4 WRC entered by Citroen Sport.
“I enjoyed myself so much that I would happily have driven on for a few more stages!” said Sordo. “This weekend went well, run in perfect conditions, and we were able to carry out some useful work with the team. Of course, there was no real pressure. All the more reason for us to drive a very disciplined event!
“After looking at the data with the engineers, it's clear that we've made consistent progress. That gives me a lot of confidence as we head into the new season, which is just a few days away now.”
Citroen Racing team manager Benoit Nogier hailed the performance of both of his men: “This practice event allowed the team to make more progress in preparation for the Rally Sweden [the opening round in the 2010 World Rally Championship]. Dani drove exactly the sort of rally that we expected from him. He was fast and consistent, growing in confidence on the surface that comes least naturally to him.
“As for Kimi, he was quickly able to put his mishap at the start of the rally behind him and get to the end of a complex event, whilst improving at the same pace as Dani.”