KIMI MAKES WAVES IN MEXICO: RECCE REPORT Mexico has a long and rich history in motorsport, with the first Mexican Grand Prix held in 1962. Mexico's Formula One fixture lived on in its most recent format between 1986 and 1992 at the Autodromo ...
KIMI MAKES WAVES IN MEXICO: RECCE REPORT
Mexico has a long and rich history in motorsport, with the first Mexican Grand Prix held in 1962. Mexico's Formula One fixture lived on in its most recent format between 1986 and 1992 at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez: named after the two brothers who made history in Mexican motorsport.
But this was somewhat before Kimi Raikkonen's time, as when the last Mexican Grand Prix was held he was only 12. So Mexico is an entirely new experience and a new country for the Red Bull driver, who will take part in just his seventh rally this weekend.
"It's actually really nice to go somewhere new and see something different," said Kimi, who has now completed the recce of the 22 stages that make up the Rally Mexico. "The event's not exactly what I was expecting. The stages are quite demanding and twisty, but there are also some more flowing bits that are a little similar to Rally Finland. The good news is that there seems to be a bit more consistency in the surface than there was in Sweden. Even in the recce car, you feel that the amount of grip doesn't vary too much. What it will be like when we come to doing the stages at full speed in the rally car, I don't really know: but there are a lot of things that I don't know about rallying yet!"
Having been forced to sit out the Citroen Junior Team's pre-event test after aggravating an old back injury picked up in F1, Kimi feels confident that it will not trouble him further during the rally.
"My back feels OK now," he said. "I'm going to wear a kidney belt - a type of back brace - during the rally just to keep everything in place but I am sure I won't have any further problems. If I was going to experience some pain I would have had it during the recce, but it was fine. I'm actually not too worried about having missed the test: the team has some very good data for this rally anyway."
One of the biggest improvements that Kimi has made since Sweden is in his pace notes, read out by co-driver Kaj Lindstrom. "The level of detail in them is really good now," added Kaj. "Our recce was really good and I could tell that Kimi had a great feeling with the stages. I hope that all the stages are going to go well for us, but there are a quite a few that we thought might be really good such as SS3 and SS12. The roads clean up quite a lot, so I think that our start position will help us too."
After learning a lot in Sweden, the 2007 Formula 1 World Champion is planning on taking the same approach in Mexico. "Most of the speed to come is from me learning more about the car, so that is going to be the main focus here," he concluded. "We're going to just build on everything we've learned so far at our own pace, and hopefully a few good stage times will come out of it too. At the shakedown tomorrow we plan to do as many runs as we can to get a feel for the roads. So far I'm really enjoying Mexico, although even on the recce I was quite surprised by how much power you lose with the altitude. We've had a really great welcome from everyone here and I like Mexican food, so I know we're going to have a good time. After all, Mexico is famous for that!"
Tomorrow's shakedown stage will start at 08:00 (local time), from the service park in Leon's Poliforum.
-source: red bull