THE SECRET LIFE OF POLAR BEARS...
Polar bears - all 25,000 or so that are left in the world - enjoy playing in the snow and are the largest land mammals known to hunt humans, although they mostly prefer seals and walruses. They live primarily in the United States, Canada,
Russia and some parts of Scandinavia.
So the common image that many people have of cute polar bears walking around with fluffy penguins is in fact completely wrong: penguins live only in the Southern Hemisphere while polar bears exclusively inhabit the circumpolar north. But you will not actually see any polar bears on the stages of Rally Sweden as the closest ones live in Norway. It's also not true either that polar bears are as white as snow: each hair is in fact a clear hollow tube. And while we're on the subject, it's another urban myth that polar bears cover their black noses to hide themselves better while they are out hunting.
These ursine facts have absolutely nothing at all to do with Red Bull driver Kimi Raikkonen
's progress on the opening day of the Rally Sweden, except possibly the fact that he too has been hunting humans - of the rally driver type - and been playing in the snow and ice.
Nature and polar bears however are never predictable. So it proved for Kimi when he had an unscheduled excursion into a snow bank on the sixth stage.
"Up until the stage before the last one today it was good," summed up Kimi. "We just had a half-spin there and got stuck after we tried to turn the car round. The problem was that the windscreen was all misted up and we couldn't see where we were going so we went off and got stuck in a snow bank. It's a shame because we had no real problems up to then and the car was not damaged at all, but this is all part of the learning process. It's really not easy, but I knew that before I came here of course. We'll keep going and see what tomorrow brings."
Co-driver Kaj Lindstrom said that he enjoyed his day. The sun was shining and whatever birds were brave enough to be out in the subzero temperatures were singing. So were the members of Kimi's fan club outside the service area.
"What happened on SS6 was a bit irritating because it had all been going so well until then," added Kaj. "If we had being going crazy then I would have understood it, but actually it was really sensible from the start: Kimi was concentrating hard, not making any mistakes and been driving perfectly. Then we had this stupid thing. But these things can happen and tomorrow is another day."