KIMI RAIKKONEN GETS TO GRIPS WITH FINNISH GRAVEL
Red Bull driver Kimi Raikkonen
has enjoyed a successful two-day test close to Jyvaskyla, a week before starting his first Rally Finland at the wheel of the Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC.
Kimi took part in the Rally Finland
last year - but he was driving a less powerful Super 2000 car. This time, he will take the start in a car similar to the one that won the Rally Finland last year in the hands of Sebastien Loeb
. After running consistently within the top three of his class last year, Kimi faces a much bigger challenge in 2010 thanks to the extra speed of the Citroen C4 WRC.
The 2007 Formula One World Champion tried out two different roads during the test, in order to experience the range of conditions that he will find when the rally begins in just over a week's time. Weather conditions were cool and cloudy on Tuesday, but much warmer on Wednesday.
He tested all the parameters needed for success on Rally Finland: in particular suspension and damper settings, which are vital for ensuring that the car flies accurately over the huge rollercoaster crests that Rally Finland is famous for.
Kimi said: "The test went really well, and it was great for us to have this experience before starting Rally Finland. Of course it helps a bit that I have done the rally last year, but the World Rally Car is such a step up from the Super 2000 car that it is like driving a completely different rally. We tested everything that we wanted to, and it was also useful to have the experience of preparing pace notes on these fast and technical roads. I'm really looking forward to Rally Finland: as a Grand Prix driver I never really got the chance to compete in the top class at home before, so I think that it's going to be a lot of fun. We made a few adjustments to the car during the test but nothing major: I think we are in a good position to start the rally now."
His experienced co-driver Kaj Lindstrom, who has competed on the Rally Finland 10 times, is also looking forward to the eighth round of this year's World Rally Championship. "I have been lucky enough to have had some great memories of competing on the Rally Finland, but I'm sure that this is going to be a very special one too," he said. "It's always a huge pleasure for me and for Kimi to drive in front of our home crowd, and we hope that we can give everybody something to remember. The pre-event test went very well and we have a good feeling with the car and the pace notes. But of course the real action starts a week on Friday!"
Kimi and Kaj will now have a few days off before the recce for the Rally Finland gets underway on Tuesday 27 July. The rally starts in the evening of Thursday 29 July and finishes on Saturday 31 July: an innovation for the 60th anniversary of the event.