The entry list for Rally Finland, released earlier today, reveals that Formula One star Kimi Raikkonen will be contesting his first World Rally Championship-level rally at one of the WRC's classic events next month. Kimi Raikkonen, ...
The entry list for Rally Finland, released earlier today, reveals that Formula One star Kimi Raikkonen will be contesting his first World Rally Championship-level rally at one of the WRC's classic events next month.
Raikkonen, who made his rallying debut at the Arctic Lapland Rally in January, at the wheel of a Tommi Makinen Racing-prepared Abarth Grande Punto S2000, and followed that up with the Vaakuna Ralli in February, both part of the competitive Finnish Rally Championship. He also took part in another tarmac rally in Italy in the spring.
Raikkonen, running with Makinen's longtime co-driver Kaj Lindstrom, finished the Arctic Lapland Rally in 13th place, and was running seventh in the Vaakuna-Ralli when he had an off on SS6.
Raikkonen, who has Ferrari's permission to enter the rally, is keen to run in Rally Finland, said his spokesperson, Riku Kuvaja.
"This has been his longtime dream," said Kuvaja to STT, the Finnish news agency. "After driving in a few smaller rallies, he is very enthusiastic about Rally Finland."
In the meantime, the Ford WRC works team also confirmed that Jari-Matti Latvala would be driving in his home event, in spite of his accident on the final superspecial of Rally Poland while in a comfortable second place.
"Every time he makes a mistake it always tends to be a different type of situation," said team principal Malcolm Wilson to wrc.com. "But I'll say this for sure; without any question this the biggest mistake of his career."
"It is difficult at this moment in time," Wilson continued. "We were really in a position to challenge for the championship. I am not saying that is dead and buried, but we sure have a mountain to climb. We have invested in Jari-Matti for a long time. He made good progress in Sardinia but unfortunately here you can see now we are back to square one again."
Latvala, who is undeniably fast but has a history of accidents, will have his work cut out for him, though, to retain his seat in the longer term.
Rally Finland starts on 31 July, during the four-week break between the Hungarian and European Grands Prix.