WRC

Rally Portugal: Red Bull preview

KIMI LOOKS TO WORK WONDERS IN PORTUGAL There were originally seven wonders of the ancient world: the Colossus of Rhodes (a big statue), the Pyramids at Giza (the only ancient wonder that still exists), the hanging gardens of Babylon (a cheat, as...

KIMI LOOKS TO WORK WONDERS IN PORTUGAL

There were originally seven wonders of the ancient world: the Colossus of Rhodes (a big statue), the Pyramids at Giza (the only ancient wonder that still exists), the hanging gardens of Babylon (a cheat, as they didn't actually hang), the mausoleum at Halicarnassus (so that Greek leaders could enjoy being dead), the statue of Zeus at Olympia (apparently even bigger than the Colossus) and the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus (again, think super-size).

The final wonder was the lighthouse at Alexandria. When it was built, in around 280BC, it was around 135 metres high: making it the tallest structure in the world for several centuries. These days, it would probably be classified as a low-rise building in downtown Manhattan.

The island that the lighthouse was built on was called Pharos, which eventually became the Latin word for 'lighthouse' as well. Faro in Portugal, the coastal venue for round six of the World Rally Championship, also sports a number of elaborate lighthouses: no doubt inspired by the wonder of Alexandria.

It will be an eighth wonder if Red Bull driver Kimi Raikkonen gets near the podium on what will only be his sixth World Rally Championship event of any description and just his fifth event at the wheel of the Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC.

But that is the objective that the former Grand Prix champion is steadily working towards and with every rally he is showing a distinct improvement. On his last rally, in Turkey, the Finn finished an excellent fifth overall - boosting his confidence for the future.

Portugal is a somewhat different proposition. It's one of the classics on the World Rally Championship calendar and consequently all the top drivers know it well. The last Portuguese Grand Prix was held at Estoril in 1996 - five years before Kimi started driving in Formula One - so he has never even competed in Portugal at the top level. In fact, he has never even been to Portugal before.

"It's fair to say that everything is completely new to me," said Kimi. "I've been testing in France, but it's not the same as being in competition. The other drivers have been to New Zealand - which wasn't on my programme - and they also know the Rally of Portugal well, so it's not going to be easy for us. That doesn't really bother me though, as I am here to learn more than anything else. The final result at the end of the rally doesn't matter to me really: it's all about how much information I can take away for the future. We're just continuing our improvement step by step."

Co-driver Kaj Lindstrom has considerably more experience of Portugal, having competed in 1999 and 2001. On those occasions though the rally was held in the north of the country around Porto: where a pre-rally roadshow took place on the Sunday before the start. Sharing a car with Citroen's factory drivers Sebastien Loeb and Dani Sordo, who are also backed by Red Bull, Kimi thrilled a huge crowd while Kaj looked on.

"When it comes to the actual rally It's going to be a tricky event, but I'm seeing Kimi grow in confidence all the time," said Kaj. "Since we started competing together, my role has actually changed. Kimi is getting to know the car more and more, so rather than guiding him I am now just giving him the information he needs to make his own decisions. That's just one example of how Kimi is really growing into his role as a rally driver, so we're both really looking forward to the weekend."

-source: red bull

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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Kimi Raikkonen , Sébastien Loeb , Kaj Lindstrom
Teams Citroën World Rally Team