Bottas to make rally debut in Fiesta WRC

Mercedes Formula 1 driver Valtteri Bottas will kick off his 2019 season by making his competitive rallying debut in Finland in an M-Sport Ford Fiesta World Rally Car. 

Bottas to make rally debut in Fiesta WRC

Bottas will contest the Arctic Lapland Rally from January 24-26 in a Fiesta similar to the one used by Sebastien Ogier to win the last two WRC titles.

His co-driver will be Timo Rautiainen, who navigated Marcus Gronholm to WRC crowns in 2000 and 2002. 

“This is a unique opportunity to take a peek into the world of rallying, and I would like to thank everyone who has made it possible,” said Bottas. 

“It’s totally new territory for me too, as I have no prior experience of a World Rally Car. Still, being the race car driver that I am, you always go flat out whatever the vehicle you’re driving in.”

Bottas will continue a long tradition of Finnish F1 drivers contesting the Arctic event. 

World champions Keke Rosberg, Mika Hakkinen and Kimi Raikkonen have all taken part before, as has ex-McLaren and Renault driver Heikki Kovalainen.

Bottas’s entry is being billed as ‘Flying Finn – Mission in Lapland’, as part of a Finnish rally driver development programme by AKK Motorsport.

Rautiainen, whose WRC record alongside Gronholm includes 30 victories and 61 podiums from 144 starts, has remained involved in rallying in recent years in an official capacity.

“This is such an interesting mission that I just had to accept the challenge,” said Rautiainen. “I believe that for a talented wheelman like Valtteri, we’ll be able to establish a good basic driving routine in testing. 

“The challenging part of course will be learning the ins and outs of pace note making and learning to drive with pace notes all at once.” 

Bottas’s rally debut takes place three weeks before pre-season testing begins for the 2019 F1 season.

shares
comments
Best driver, biggest surprise, star team: Our F1 2018 review

Previous article

Best driver, biggest surprise, star team: Our F1 2018 review

Next article

McLaren presentation convinced Sainz of recovery potential

McLaren presentation convinced Sainz of recovery potential
Load comments
How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus Prime

How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Prime

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Prime

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says Stuart Codling.

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Prime

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences.

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Prime

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Prime

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Prime

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1's elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he's recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Italian Grand Prix driver ratings

Two drivers produced faultless performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left many to rue what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021