Dani Sordo joins Kimi Raikkonen Following the asphalt of Bulgaria, the FIA World Rally Championship gets back to gravel with the legendary Rally Finland. For the first time this year, Dani Sordo and Marc Marti will drive for the Citroen Junior...
Dani Sordo joins Kimi Raikkonen
Following the asphalt of Bulgaria, the FIA World Rally Championship gets back to gravel with the legendary Rally Finland. For the first time this year, Dani Sordo and Marc Marti will drive for the Citroen Junior Team. The team's second Citroen C4 WRC will be in the hands of Kimi Raikkonen and Kaj Lindstrom, who are competing in front of their home crowd.
For 60 years now, the 1000 Lakes Rally which then became the Rally Finland has been a classic fixture for all the crews. The event is often nicknamed the `Jyvaskyla Grand Prix' and it has featured seven times in the top 10 fastest rallies ever held in the history of the World Rally Championship. The quickest Rally Finland took place in 2005, with an average speed of 122.86 kph recorded on the event.
For the eighth round of the season, Citroen Racing has made some adjustments to its team nominations. Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia join the Citroen Total World Rally Team for the first time, while Dani Sordo and Marc Marti form part of the Citroen Junior Team as team mates to Kimi Raikkonen and Kaj Lindstrom. The Spanish crew will also be nominated to score points for the Citroen Junior Team in Japan and Great Britain this year.
"The objective of the Citroen Junior Team is to allow young drivers to perform to the best of their abilities at the highest level," pointed out Team Manager Benoit Nogier. "We have seen this goal being achieved with Sebastien Ogier and we are very happy for him. His results reflect the hard work that the entire team has put in since the start of the season. We hope to be at the same level with Dani, so that he too can show what he is capable of."
Dani Sordo, aged 27, is currently sixth in the World Championship standings and has finished on the podium twice this year, thanks to third place in Portugal and second in Bulgaria. The Spaniard looks upon his new association with the Citroen Junior Team as a fresh opportunity. "I'll be feeling less pressure," he said. "By switching teams, I won't always have to drive with the fundamental need to score manufacturer points for Citroen at the back of my mind. I'm going to concentrate on just doing my own rally and delivering the best performance possible."
For the first time in his short World Rally Championship career, Kimi Raikkonen will be starting an event that he has already contested last year. In 2009, the 2007 Formula One World Champion showed some highly impressive pace before unfortunately going off the road.
"We were able to get back up to speed on gravel thanks to a good pre-Finland test," said Kimi. "Those testing kilometres are absolutely vital on a rally like this one. The experience from last year is certainly going to help, but there is such a performance gap between a Super 2000 machine and a World Rally Car that it's almost like driving a different rally. I'm really looking forward to getting started. When I was in Formula One, I never got the chance to race in front of my home crowd. I know that there are going to be loads of fans out in service and by the side of the stages. For me, this is a real highlight of the season!"
Three questions to... Dani Sordo
Does joining the Citroen Junior Team feel a bit like going back to your roots?
"I started off on the World Rally Championship driving the Citroen Xsara WRC, when some people from the Citroen Junior Team were also there. These were very happy memories, and we had some good performances that helped me to secure a factory drive. There is a very nice atmosphere in the team and everybody is extremely professional. The results speak for themselves. Everything is there to enable us to have a very good rally."
Is Finland an event you have been looking forward to this year?
"Finland a particularly tricky rally that is very fast, and so local drivers tend to do extremely well there. It's also a rally that personally I love. The speeds we reach are very exciting for any driver and of course we have to take a few risks through the trees and over the crests. It's an absolutely unique event. You need to have very good pace notes, and to drive precisely and decisively."
What do you expect from this rally with the Citroen Junior Team?
"I know that I'm joining a very good team. Now it's down to me to make the most of it. I'm going to try and give it my all on this event, as always do. For the past two years I've finished fourth, less than 20 seconds off the podium, and in 2009 I was only a minute behind the winner. My objective is to show that I can be competitive while setting some good times and remaining consistent throughout the event."