Saturday, July 31, 2010

Kimi had the first note curse

Kimi Räikkönen's learning year in the rally world has been as thorny as expected since experience has to be found through making mistakes.

On the second try in Rally Finland Räikkönen and Kaj Lindström got to the finish line, as was the goal. But them main aim of a flawless performance, which would also have been a birthday present for the now 41-year-old co-driver, was not achieved.

After Friday Räikkönen charged himself for a tough battle against Juha Kankkunen but already on the first special stage of the morning, Kolonkulma, the former F1 star got into trouble. The Citroen slid into a deep ditch and couldn't get out. The front bumper was left on the side of the road and the tyres on the driver's side peeled off their rims.

-We just came too fast to a slow corner turning to the right. The car fell into a ditch and wouldn't come up on it's own. We tried to get up by accelerating and while doing that the front broke on the side of the ditch. We got help from the spectators and eventually we were back on the road, Lindström explained.

-We only had one spare tyre and we had to wonder how to get one tyre back on it's rim so that the air would stay in. Then we just drove peacefully, Räikkönen told.

In the final results Räikkönen was 25th 23 minutes behind winner Jari-Matti Latvala.

The first note has it's risks

While the Citroen was lying hopelessly torn in the service area, Tommi Mäkinen went to hear what his friends had been up to.

-It's typical that the mistake happened on the special stage for which Kimi made the pace notes first. It just goes to show how extremely difficult it is to make pace notes. That's the biggest problem and challenge when compared to driving F1, said Mäkinen.

Lindström explained what the first stage pace note problem means.

-When the rally goes on and you gain experience you start to check the first note during that day and the next day. You just try to make it more accurate and therefore the risks are highest on the first stage. The same thing happened to Tommi sometimes, the note for the first stage was a bit less accurate than for the others.

-Kimi was concentrated but mistakes just happen. The needed experience only comes this way, Lindström thought.

For Räikkönen driving to the finish line was like putting money on a high-interest savings account.

-It's good that we managed to drive through all the stages. If Kimi continues with rally in the future he will benefit a lot from driving the whole rally in Jyväskylä with this car and on race speed, Lindström reminded.

No bullseye stage

The experienced co-driver estimates that only two stages went badly: Myhinpää on the first time on Friday and then Kolonkulma on Saturday morning.

But what about Räikkönen himself – how many stages went well?

-Probably none of them were such that I'd be really pleased with them. When you're driving you always notice that you could be going a lot faster.

Räikkönen fully enjoyed his home race.

-It's one of the sweetest rallies. It's well organized and the feeling among the spectators is different than in a lot of the other places. Rally is popular in Finland. People sit next to the stages from six in the morning and everybody has flags waving and it shows that people are rally fans here, Räikkönen praised.

Information in a completely different way

Mäkinen denied being Räikkönen's mentor.

-I'm not involved in Kimi's racing. He has the Citroen team with him.

Mäkinen emphasized that Räikkönen doesn't have to learn the actual driving.

-You learn to drive a car by practicing. With Kimi the problem is that when driving on a circuit he was able to memorize every spot by heart. In rally there's information coming in all the time and it's coming through a different route, through the ears when the co-driver is reading the pace notes.

-You have to learn to utilise that and it's from a different world than anything else in the motorsport world, even realizing how much time it takes. It is taking time but Kimi's ability to make the notes is improving all the time, Mäkinen emphasized.

Source: Turun Sanomat
Courtesy: Dracaena


Kimi Räikkönen experiences the ups and downs of Rally Finland. There are lots of hippies in Finland. But rather than people who hang around talking about flower power and making love not war, a ‘hyppy’ in Finnish means a big jump.

Naturally, there are more ‘hyppys’ on Rally Finland than there are at Woodstock. Just to reinforce this impression, there are quite a few old camper vans out there too. Hippies, of course, like nothing better than getting high. And so do rally drivers.

Of course we’re talking about those flat-out crests that characterise Rally Finland, sending the cars soaring for nearly a hundred metres into the air. As David Copperfield said, you’ll believe a man can fly.

With so many big jumps, it is inevitable that Rally Finland contains several ups and downs. Kimi Raikkonen experienced both during the second and final day of his home event. On the opening stage of the day, the ‘Iceman’ got caught out by a right-hand corner and slid into a ditch.

The car was undamaged but it took some time to drive out of the ditch, as for once there wasn’t a huge crowd of spectators around to help. While the crew were trying to regain the road, the front bumper of the C4 WRC became detached from the rest of it.

To make matters worse, both front tyres then came off the rim. With only one spare wheel, the crew then struggled to get the other deflated tyre back on the rim and more than 10 minutes were lost in total.

Had it not been for that, then the ‘Iceman’ would have been comfortably in the points on his home event: an excellent achievement for somebody contesting the most specialised and complex rally on the calendar in a World Rally Car for the first time.

“We were a bit unlucky this morning but it’s all part of the learning process,“ said Kimi, the winner of the 2007 Formula One title. “During the first day we tried not to take too many risks to be sure of making the finish, then we just got caught out on a slippery corner at the beginning of day two. With only two days in the rally this year there’s not so much chance to make up the time lost, so from then on it was a question of getting to the finish. We were able to make a lot of progress with the pace notes, which was useful, and have more kilometres behind the wheel of the car, which is the most important thing. Of course I’m a bit disappointed as there was no real motivation today but in the end getting to the finish was the main aim. It’s all about the experience.“

Kimi’s fellow Finn and co-driver Kaj Lindstrom added: “The really positive thing is we’ve continued the good work that we left off in Bulgaria. But this is a tough sport. You can have a good rally and survive all the complicated things, but then caught out by a place that is reasonably slow and straightforward, which is what happened to us today. We had been going very carefully during the first day and we thought that it might be possible to push a bit harder on day two. In the end we never really got the chance, as after we went off it was hard to find the same pace. We built up more experience though and above all we hope that everybody enjoyed watching us. There were certainly loads of people out there!“

Source: RedBullRallye

Räikkönen to MTV3: My Jyväskylä victory may take some time

After Finland's WRC rally MTV3 asked Kimi Räikkönen whether his name will some day be written on the honorable list of Jyväskylä winners. Jari-Matti Latvala was added on that list on Saturday.

After the race Räikkönen almost promised to return to Jyväskylä's gravel roads next year.

-It's very much possible. Nothing is certain but it's a bigger chance than me driving in F1.

Reaching the victory battle in Rally Finland demands previous experience.

-There's fast roads here that one can drive really fast when one knows them. I've noticed that it would be possible to drive a lot faster into many places but that will come after driving them enough. This was one of the most difficult rallies. Rally Finland is well organized and there were a lot of spectators. The feeling is a bit different than in a lot of other places. It was a wonderful experience, Räikkönen said.

Next Räikkönen heads to Germany for rally tests. So he won't participate in Helsinki Motorsport Weekend next week.

Source: MTV3
Courtesy: Dracaena

Kimi Räikkönen didn't bother to worry over his rally

Kimi Räikkönen didn't bother to worry even though Rally Finland ended in a worse than expected position after small driving errrors. Räikkönen drove out on the first special stage of the final day and fell far down on the resultboard.

-There were mistakes but what can you do. I'm not too annoyed over it, Räikkönen said right after the finish line of the rally's last special stage.

Räikkönen still has some things to learn with the pace notes. In Jyväskylä the need to trust the notes is highlighted. But Räikkönen wasn't too upset over his difficult race.

-At least we learned these stages which kind of was the purpose. One has to learn them if one wants to succeed and fight for top positions, Räikkönen said.

Räikkönen, who is driving for the Citroen Junior Team, finished the rally at 25th position. Strained by accidents and time penalties he was more than 23 minutes behind winner Jari-Matti Latvala.

Riku Salminen, Jyväskylä

Courtesy: Dracaena

Kimi crashes in Finland with Citroen C4 - WRC Rally Finland 2010 SS12 Kolonkulma Day 2

Source: amjayes

Qualifying: Unbeatable Bulls take front row

Red Bull translated their earlier pace into a lock-out of the front row in Hungary with Sebastian Vettel taking pole ahead of Mark Webber

The German driver, who was chasing his seventh pole position of the season at the Hungaroring, clocked a 1:18.773 to beat his team-mate to the coveted grid slot by a rather comfortable 0.411s.

There was no stopping the Red Bulls, although for the second grand prix running it was Ferrari who posed the greatest threat. However, it actually wasn't much of a threat as Fernando Alonso, who qualified P3, was 1.214s slower than Vettel.

Felipe Massa, who suffered life-threatening injuries in last year's Hungarian GP qualifying, will line-up fourth on the grid ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

Vitaly Petrov made his mark on the timesheets, beating his team-mate Robert
Kubica in qualifying for the first time this season, while Pedrod de la Rosa and Nico Hulkenberg completed the top ten.

Meanwhile, Jenson Button and Michael Schumacher both failed to make it through to the final qualifying segment. Button could only managed 11th place, 1.761s off Webber's pace in Q2 while Schumacher qualified down in 14th place.


01. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:18.773
02. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:19.184

03. Alonso Ferrari 1:19.987
04. Massa Ferrari 1:20.331

05. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:20.499
06. Rosberg Mercedes 1:21.082

07. Petrov Renault 1:21.229
08. Kubica Renault 1:21.328

09. de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1:21.411
10. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:21.710

11. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:21.292
12. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:21.331

13. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:21.517
14. Schumacher Mercedes 1:21.630

15. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:21.897
16. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:21.927

17. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:21.998
18. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:22.222

19. Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:24.050
20. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1:24.120

21. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1:24.199
22. di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1:25.118

23. Senna HRT-Cosworth 1:26.391
24. Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 1:26.453

Source: Planet-F1

Prac Three: Another Red Bull show

Red Bull may have downplayed their pace on Friday afternoon but that didn't stop Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel from dominating Saturday's final practice.

Webber, who lost out to his team-mate on Friday in Hungary, posted a 1:19.574 to lead the way while Vettel was almost half a second off his team-mate's pace.

Once again it was Fernando Alonso who came the closest to challenging the Red Bull duo, however, the Ferrari driver was over a second slower than Vettel.
Robert Kubica, Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton were next in line on a sunny Saturday morning in Budapest.

Report: Despite the overnight rain, the Hungaroring was bone dry for the start of the weekend's final practice session - although there was plenty of cement dust down to absorb the oil dropped during the earlier Formula BMW race. It took over 15 minutes before the first lap time was set as Lucas di Grassi crossed the line with a 1:29.866. Lotus drivers Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli lined up behind him with Sakon Yamamoto in fourth place.

Jaime Alguersuari was the next to lead the way with a 1:25.343. However, he was pipped by Nico Hulkenberg as the green track, coupled with cement dust, sent a few drivers sliding wide off the track, although with no major consequences at all. Mark Webber slotted into second place behind Hulkenberg.

Sebastian Vettel took control at the top of the timesheets with a full
house of purple sectors, which saw him post a 1:21.954. His reign, though, was short-lived as his team-mate overhauled him by 0.320s. Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were both stuck in their respective garages as the session reached the halfway point.

Webber improved the benchmark time to a 1:21.087 while Lewis Hamilton climbed to third place, although a full second down on the Aussie's best time. Michael Schumacher took ninth place with Robert Kubica slotting into P10. Vettel took the P1 slot off his team=mate, a 1:20.966 for the German racer as Alonso finally completed his first lap time, moving up to third place behind the Red Bulls.

Another flier from vettel lowered the benchmark to a 1:20.261 while Nico Rosberg was the next to take the fight to the Bulls with Pedro de la Rosa moving up into fourth place and Felipe Massa fifth, ahead of Alonso. Hamilton again climbed the order, third best time for the McLaren driver and a much-improved performance compared to Friday's practice sessions.

Vitaly Petrov had a massive moment at Turn 12 and barely managed to keep his Renault away from the barriers. Bruno Senna spun his HRT at the penultimate corner as he struggled for grip on old tyres. Alonso moved back up into third place with Button taking fourth behind him.

Webber returned to the action with a deficit of eight-tenths to his team-mate. However, he dropped that to just 0.066s. Kubica was another to improve, moving up to fifth place.
Meanwhile, Webber put in a blistering 1:19.940 to overhaul Vettel at the
top of the timesheets.

The final few minutes saw the drivers switch to the softer option tyres as they tried their hands at qualifying runs. Button improved to fourth place but lost it to Petrov and then Hamilton. Rosberg took sixth place before being dropped as Kubica went fourth, Vettel caught a handful of traffic. He went on to improve his time but Webber did the same, ensuring he finished the session fastest of all.


01. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m19.574s 17 laps
02. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m20.058s + 0.484s 15 laps
03. Alonso Ferrari 1m20.724s + 1.150s 19 laps
04. Kubica Renault 1m21.066s + 1.492s 19 laps
05. Massa Ferrari 1m21.264s + 1.690s 16 laps
06. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m21.376s + 1.802s 17 laps
07. Petrov Renault 1m21.399s + 1.825s 15 laps
08. Rosberg Mercedes 1m21.422s + 1.848s 18 laps
09. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m21.473s + 1.899s 18 laps
10. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1m21.513s + 1.939s 18 laps
11. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m21.705s + 2.131s 19 laps
12. Schumacher Mercedes 1m21.939s + 2.365s 15 laps
13. de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1m22.151s + 2.577s 21 laps
14. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m22.337s + 2.763s 20 laps
15. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m22.427s + 2.853s 19 laps
16. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m22.508s + 2.934s 22 laps
17. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m22.918s + 3.344s 14 laps
18. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1m23.708s + 4.134s 8 laps
19. di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1m24.547s + 4.973s 19 laps
20. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1m24.576s + 5.002s 22 laps
21. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1m24.623s + 5.049s 22 laps
22. Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m24.805s + 5.231s 17 laps
23. Senna HRT-Cosworth 1m26.479s + 6.905s 21 laps
24. Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 1m27.176s + 7.602s 21

Source: Planet-f1

Friday, July 30, 2010

Kimi Räikkönen After Day 1 at Neste Oil Rally Finland 2010

Source: Citroën WRC

Still no decision about Raikkonen's F1 future

Kimi Raikkonen has once again refused to shed any light on his plans for 2011.

It is expected that the 2007 world champion intends to stay at least another year in the world rally championship.

But Citroen recently announced that Sebastien Loeb and Sebastien Ogier are staying put, without mentioning the future of Finn Raikkonen, who has also been linked with a return to Formula One.

When asked on Thursday ahead of the Finnish rally if there is any news about his plans, the 30-year-old answered: "No, not yet. We have some decisions to make and I haven't done that yet.

"I can honestly say that I do not know," he added in a separate interview.

FIA president Jean Todt told Turun Sanomat newspaper that he respects Raikkonen's decision last year to move to rallying.

"When he wanted a new challenge, it was very courageous to pick rally. But F1 is a constant pressure so I can understand why Kimi wanted to do something else," said the Frenchman.

"What I can say is that if the reigning champion Jenson Button, or whoever wins this year's title should go to rallying, he would not be at the same level of Kimi in their first season," added Todt.
Both Raikkonen and Todt refused to comment on the Ferrari team orders scandal.

"I'm not in Formula One, so I don't care what's happening there," said the Finn.

And Todt added: "We will deal with it in due course, but I don't want to talk about F1 now."

Source: Motorsport

Sebastian Vettel Q&A: A very solid Friday

Leading the field by half a second is quite a statement, even if Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel does play down the importance of Friday’s practice times. He has marked the Hungaroring as his territory for the weekend and now it is up to the rest to take it from him. After several Grands Prix when things have somehow slipped through his fingers, has the young German’s time come again in Budapest?

Q: How was the day developing for you?
Sebastian Vettel: I think today was actually quite a good day, even though the timings are not really important. Of course it is good if you are somewhere at the front, but still the gaps today do not reflect the actual situation, as for example we have not been loaded with too much fuel. Also we did not have any problems with the car, so I would call today a very solid Friday.

Q: Would you also say that there is now a very strong competitor joining the fight for the championship?
SV: Ferrari has again also shown a very strong day, especially in the afternoon session. It looked as if they were very quick on both the short and the longer run. As I said, it is not really possible to say anything for the rest of the weekend taking a look at the Friday timings. It is just important that you run the car with a heavy, but also with a light, fuel load and be able to be in the front.

Q: Also your team mate has again shown that he is amongst the competitors for the championship. Will there be a showdown before the end of the season?
SV: In general it is very good if both drivers in a team are on the same level, as long as I am a little bit in the front! In general I think we have a normal relationship as team mates, and the both of us try our best. So for tomorrow it will not only be tight between Mark (Webber) and myself, but also the rest of the field will show its competitiveness. For example McLaren has shown not only once that they are capable of making a step forward overnight.

Q: Of course both drivers are also gaining points for the team and the constructors’ championship, but from when will you be thinking in terms of yourself becoming the drivers’ world champion?
SV: In general I think that being a sportsman you have to have a certain amount of egoism. Also I do think primarily of the drivers’ championship title, but still you always have to keep in mind that you are working with and on behalf of the whole team. Basically it comes down to a good mixture of both, as of course due to recent happenings this is a very current topic. One also should not over-dramatize the whole topic.

Q: How did you perform on the super soft tyres and did you encounter any problems with them today?
SV: I have not really been able to get a proper long run, but if you take a look at the others that have been able to, I would say that there are no problems and the super soft lasted quite long, even against expectations.

Q: What are your feelings on the track itself?
SV: The track here in Hungary is quite tough, as it is very bumpy and tricky at various places. So let’s see what we can do in qualifying and then in the race.



They got Kimi Räikkönen's setups in place only during the end of Friday.

- It's been a somewhat difficult day. Now during the last two stages the car was more like it was in testing. It got a bit easier to drive. We have changed the car all the time, Kimi told.

- Myhinpää wasn't any pleasure the first time because it was new to me but it was remarkably easier the other time.

Kimi hasn't given up the fight against Juha Kankkunen.

- I think we will try and get by Kankkunen tomorrow. I don't know other than a few kilometers from Väärinmaja but I have been in the other stages. I think tomorrow will be a bit easier, Kimi said.

Source: MTV3
Courtesy: Nicole

Kankkunen vs Räikkönen tingles

– It's nice to race with Kimi. It gives a bit of a challenge. I haven't even looked at others, Kankkunen assured.

Räikkönen caught Kankkunen by 4 seconds and promised he would try to close the gap on Saturday.

– He can always try. Let's see, Kankkunen said.What about the start?

– .I didnt' see the lights. My co-driver Juha Repo told me that he saw even though the sun was shining. He counted the start for me like normal and then we took off. If it was a jumpstart then it was 1/1000 at most. I have never jumpstarted in my lfe. Now I looked at the lights only after we took off even though I couldn't see it, Kankkunen cleared.

Kankkunen enjoys driving.

– It went well, fell into places very well once I learned to trust the car and the brakes. It's easier to get them this way than to go out. I especially enjoyed Myhinpää. I even laughed at times when I had a suspension so that I could just let it go, didn't have to stress, Kankkunen said.

Räikkönen got his Citroen the way he liked it only for the two last stages.

– That's when it worked like it did in testing. It was a difficult day and we decided that we won't do anything more with the car because the end went so much better. I jsut have to try and catch Juha by driving. Now all stages were new. I absolutely did not enjoy Myhinpää the first time. On Saturday there are stages we drove last year already. That should help, Räikkönen said.

A sign of the way Räikkönen is a quick learner is Myhinpää where he improved his time with 17 seconds meaning one second per kilometer when driving for the second time.

– It was sticky in the beginning and we didn't find the rhythm. It's better to drive nicely by the note as agreed upon and there we found the rhythm. If you try to overdo it the clock doesn't like it, Kaj Lindström said.

Source: Turun Sanomat
Courtesy: Nicole


The first half of the Rally Finland has gone perfectly to plan for the Citroën Junior Team. Dani Sordo and Marc Marti are fifth overall, having set a fastest stage time in the land of the 1000 lakes. Kimi Räikkönen and Kaj Lindström are currently eighth. A long day of 162 competitive kilometres remains on the programme for tomorrow.

The Rally Finland got underway on Thursday night with Laajavouri: a televised stage that used to form the shakedown for the event. Both Dani Sordo and Kimi Räikkönen made a careful start to finish in the top 10 on the opening test, held in a heatwave that saw Thursday’s temperatures peak at 37.2°C: a national record.

The second half of day one got underway at 0630 this morning with two loops of two special stages that were run consecutively, without a visit to the service park in Jyväskylä. Dani Sordo got off to a flying start from the very beginning of the event. After a sixth-quickest, a fifthquickest and a fourth-quickest time, the Spaniard set his very first fastest stage time in Finland on Jukojärvi 2:

"I’ve got a very good feeling,” he said. “The Citroën Junior Team’s C4 WRC suits me perfectly. We worked extremely well together with the team and I’m feeling very comfortable on these fast stages.” Kimi Räikkönen was competing on his home event for the second time and he also made progress with every kilometre that passed. Fulfilling all the goals that he had set himself to the letter, the former F1 World Champion returned to Jyväskylä occupying eighth place overall at midday service. “I used the first few stages just to get to grips with everything,” said the Finn. “The pace is extremely quick with the Citroën C4 WRC, much more than was the case last year! The car is perfect but I’m still lacking in both mexperience and confidence. I can see where I am losing time though.”

As he racked up the kilometres and built up his experience, Kimi was slowed on SS8 after Henning Solberg went off. “People were signalling for me to slow down,” he reported. “Afterwards, it was hard to find the right rhythm again. The stages that we are doing for the first time are the most difficult ones. I’m trying to attack but it’s a lot easier the second time round. We have to carry on like this now but make sure that we stay concentrated in order not to make any mistakes. Tomorrow is a long day and I hope that it will be a little easier.”

In the afternoon, Dani Sordo was not as comfortable as he had been in the morning. On these extremely specialised roads, where even the smallest mistake can carry serious consequences, the Spaniard preferred not to take any risks. “ I had some problems with my pace notes, ” he explained. “ You need 100% confidence to go quickly in Finland and that wasn’t the case for me then. I lost a few seconds but we are still in the running. We’re going to work hard with our stage videos tonight in order to push hard again tomorrow!”

With its new two-day format this year, the Rally Finland is due to finish tomorrow night. Eight special stages are in store for all the crews, totalling 162.78 kilometres.

Source: RedBullRally

Kimi Räikkönen Live action - Helicam view - WRC Rally Finland 2010

Source: amjayes

Fernando Alonso Happy Birthday!

Source: mariogf24

Kankkunen and Räikkönen: Rallying's religious icons

In Finland, rallying is more than just a sport or a pastime – it’s like a church. The incumbent head of the Finnish Order of Rallying is Juha Kankkunen, but there are others at the altar…

The annual meeting of the Order is this week, in Jyväskylä. It’s known as Rally Finland internationally, but it’s still known locally as the 1,000 Lakes Rally – in deference to the huge number of summer boating opportunitites, rather than a place Kankkunen might go for an afternoon stroll…

Rally Finland is the highlight of the nation’s sporting calendar. But this year it’s even more important – the new pretender to Kankkunen’s crown, Kimi Matias Räikkönen, is in town, and so is the great Juha himself.

Kankkunen hasn’t competed at world rallying’s highest level since 2002, but he’s setting his sights on finishing ahead of Räikkönen – a former Formula One world champion who is currently enjoying his switch to motorsport’s muddier side – and despite his absence from the sport, Kankkunen says the competitive edge remains.

'I want to finish ahead of Kimi – that’s my aim' – Juha Kankkunen

“You can talk about getting to the finish and being sensible all of the time,” he says, “but when you pull on the crash helmet and the lights turn to green, then you forget all of that and just drive as fast as you can. I won’t be the same speed as the boys, but I will be driving as fast as I can. And I want to finish ahead of Kimi – that’s my aim.”

In a career which, when he makes the start of Rally Finland this evening, has spanned five decades, Kankkunen has won four world titles and won his home round of the World Rally Championship three times. Kankkunen has seen and done it all when it comes to rallying. And, having tamed the 600bhp Group B rally beasts (like the epic ‘Martini’ Lancia Delta, pictured below left in Juha’s capable hands) that roamed the Finnish forests in the 1980s, a Ford Focus RS WRC with half that power is not going to scare him. And neither is Kimi Räikkönen.

“The power from the current car is nothing special,” said Kankkunen. “I am used to twice this power. But the current cars are very impressive when it comes to the suspension and the speed through the slower corners.”

As a precursor to his rally return, Kankkunen sat alongside Ford’s top gun and another fellow Finn, Mikko Hirvonen, last year’s Rally Finland winner, on Kankkunen’s favourite road.

“From the start, Mikko was good,” said Juha. “The jumps and fast corners at the start were nothing special. But when we came to the first tight junction, I thought, ‘He’s forgotten about this corner!’ It was very impressive, the speed we carried.”

Kankkunen will need to carry all that speed in his efforts to stave off Räikkönen. The ex-Ferrari man has lived up to his ‘Iceman’ moniker, despite Finland enduring its hottest spell in 80 years this week.

“I’ve heard what Juha has said,” pointed out the inscrutable Flying Finn. “But I’m not going to make any predictions. Let’s just see where we both are at the end…”

Source: RedBull

Räikkönen craving home success

Kimi Raikkonen is one of Finnish motorsport's all-time greats. With a Formula 1 World title and 18 grand prix wins to his name, it would be foolish to argue otherwise.

However, the Scandinavian nation has always prided itself on producing the planet's best rally drivers, and this weekend's Rally Finland, the latest round of the World Championship, gives him a chance to become one of them.

Rally Finland, named the 1000 Lakes Rally until 1997, has been dominated by locals since its inception. Just eight times in 59 years has a foreign driver won (and only four of those went to non-Scandinavians).

Hannu Mikkola and Marcus Gronholm have both won the rally a record seven times, while Markku Alen and Tommi Makinen have taken six and five victories respectively.

Of the current front-runners, only Sebastien Loeb and Mikko Hirvonen have tasted victory, while three-time winner Juha Kankkunen will make a popular return after a few years out of the sport.

Loeb and Hirvonen are currently the two highest-ranked rally drivers in the Castrol Rankings in third and seventh places respectively, and will be sure-fire contenders for the win.

But what of Raikkonen's chances? His most convincing showing since switching codes unsurprisingly came on the asphalt-based Rally Bulgaria as he set some competitive stage times before crashing his Citroen C4.

However, the Citroen Junior Rally Team driver's best finish of his WRC career came with fifth place on Rally Turkey - a gravel event!

Going in Raikkonen's favour is that he has competed on Rally Finland before - his WRC debut came on the 2009 event in a Super 2000 Fiat and will be able to bank on the experience he gained on the Jyvaskyla-based event 12 months ago.

Going against the driver though, who lies 38th in the Castrol Rankings, is the strength of his opposition. As well as Loeb and Hirvonen, there's Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala (36), Petter Solberg (42) and his own team-mate Sebastien Ogier (28), who won't make life easy for him.

One thing guaranteed though is that he will be spectacular. If he can keep his Citroen between the trees and ditches for three days, he'll come out confidence enhanced. If he could win!

Source: Castrol Rankings

Prac Two: Ferrari join Red Bull battle

Red Bull Racing did not have it all their own way in Friday's second Hungarian practice as Ferrari joined the battle for the P1 slot.

In much the same style as Friday morning's session, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber led the way for much of the afternoon session with Ferrari closing the gap as Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa slotted into third and fourth places.

And although it appeared as if the Red Bull's would end with another 1-2 result, Alonso managed to split the two, slotting in behind Sebastian Vettel and ahead of Mark Webber.

Massa was fourth, and the only other driver to get within a second of Vettel's P1 time, while Vitaly Petrov, Lewis Hamilton, Robert Kubica and Nico Hulkenberg completed the top eight.

Report: With cloud cover building up the west of the Hungaroring, the track temperature dropped to 31'C at the start of Practice Two. The drivers were quick to make their mark on the timesheets with Kamui Kobayashi setting the early pace before he was soon overhauled by Vitaly Petrov, Nico Hulkenberg and Lewis Hamilton. Jenson Button took second place on his first run while Hamilton moved up behind his team-mate and ahead of Hulkenberg and Rubens Barrichello. Barrichello continued lapping, taking the P1 slot with a 1:22.468.

The Brazilian's reign was short-lived as Fernando Alonso went quickest of all with a 1:21.826. Button and Hamilton and Robert Kubica slotted in behind him. Felipe Massa made it a Ferrari 1-2 before Mark Webber took control, almost half a second up on Alonso's best. His team-mate Sebastian Vettel then made it a Red Bull 1-2.

The two Bulls, armed with their controversial front wings, continued to pound the track, both improving their times with Vettel just 0.04s behind his team-mate. Vettel finally overhauled Webber, lapping the Hungaroring 0.105s quicker the Aussie.

Behind the Red Bulls and Ferraris, the chasing pack did what they could to make a dent. Hulkenberg was the first up into fifth place, followed by Petrov and then Nico Rosberg. As for Rosberg's Merc GP team-mate, Michael Schumacher, he was down in 15th place.

Webber retook the P1 slot off Vettel while Alonso overhauled Massa and still it remained a Red Bull 1-2 and a Ferrari 3-4. Petrov put an end to the Red Bull, Ferrari domination when he slotted into fourth place ahead of Massa. Button improved to P8 but was still 1.6s off the pace.

Hamilton put in a much-improved lap, getting within a second of the Bulls and taking fifth place in the process. However, there was no stopping the Red Bull drivers as Webber put in two purple sector times to extend his lead with a 1:20.597. Massa, meanwhile, climbed back up to fourth place. Alonso also put in a flyer, taking second place off Vettel only for the German to respond with three purple sector times and a 1:20.087 as once again it became a Red Bull 1-2.

Alonso again brought the Red Bull 1-2 to an end, improving to second place, 0.497s behind Vettel. Schumacher was another to make gains, although his only just put him into the top ten in tenth place.

23 of the 24 drivers, excluding Heikki Kovalainen, hit the track in the final ten minutes and yet there was very little movement on the timesheets with practice eventually ending with Vettel quickest, ahead of Alonso and Webber.

01. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:20.087 33 laps
02. Alonso Ferrari 1:20.584 + 0.497 34 laps
03. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:20.597 + 0.510 36 laps
04. Massa Ferrari 1:20.986 + 0.899 33 laps
05. Petrov Renault 1:21.195 + 1.108 33 laps
06. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:21.308 + 1.221 30 laps
07. Kubica Renault 1:21.375 + 1.288 37 laps
08. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:21.623 + 1.536 41 laps
09. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:21.730 + 1.643 33 laps
10. Schumacher Mercedes 1:21.773 + 1.686 31 laps
11. de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1:21.809 + 1.722 38 laps
12. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:21.844 + 1.757 36 laps
13. Rosberg Mercedes 1:22.039 + 1.952 28 laps
14. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:22.212 + 2.125 37 laps
15. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:22.469 + 2.382 43 laps
16. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:22.507 + 2.420 22 laps
17. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:22.602 + 2.515 38 laps
18. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:23.138 + 3.051 36 laps
19. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1:24.553 + 4.466 37 laps
20. Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:25.376 + 5.289 35 laps
21. di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1:25.669 + 5.582 32 laps
22. Senna HRT-Cosworth 1:26.745 + 6.658 33 laps
23. Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 1:26.798 + 6.711 32 laps
24. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1:27.705 + 7.618 5 laps

Source: Planet-F1

Kimi Räikkönen Press Conference at Neste Oil Rally Finland 2010

Source: WRC

Rally-Kimi has learned a lot

Turun Sanomat, Jyväskylä

Kimi Räikkönen was so busy on Thursday that this interview we had agreed was moved more and more later until 50 minutes before the SS1 Kimi had time to answer to a few questions.

If I write that you drive rally in 2011, is it wrong information?

– To be honest I don't know yet, Kimi said.

How much better as a rally driver are you now if you compare to the rookie who started from here a year ago?

– At least I have learned a lot. I learned a lot during the beginning of the season but there is a huge amount to learn.

Experts see that Räikkönen drives Red Bull Citroen like a F1-driver. Kimi takes the car in a straight line concentrating on the front and doesn't let the rear slide like you could do with a rally car.

Do you still think when driving that you driver like a F1-driver?

– I guess my thinking has changed a bit. It's hard to say because I have learned so much. I guess this is a different starting point, Räikkönen thought.

What has been the most difficult thing to adapt to?

– Everything is new. Of course notes are the most difficult to learn. I make them and listen. Sometimes I just put a little more effort into driving and don't hear them and have to ask for them again. Many of my mistakes are due to me not listening carefully enough to the note. It's the most difficult thing because it doesn't happen automatically, Räikkönen said.

What do you expect from this rally?

– I hope it will become a good rally and that I don't make any stupid mistakes. If I'm one second per km behind the lead, then I'm satisfied. It helps a bit that we have notes from last year.

Gravel is the real element for the Finnish rally stars but for Räikkönen it seems that tarmac is a more natural surface.

– I have drove on tarmac all my life, that's why. I expect more of me on gravel too but since I haven't had many rallies my driving style is a bit different. In rally experience means more than it means in F1. If you make a small mistake in rally it costs a lot. In F1 you usually get back on the track through the safety-area.

Source: Turun Sanomat
Courtesy: Nicole

Prac One: Bulls dominate from start to finish

The Red Bull racers proved to be untouchable in Friday's first practice in Hungary where the only competition they had was each other.

Mark Webber was the first of the big-name drivers to put in a serious lap time, immediately taking the P1 slot. And it was from that point onwards the Red Bull held it.

The Aussie led the way, easily quicker than his rivals, before his team-mate Sebastian Vettel joined the mix, making it a Red Bull 1-2. The duo traded blows for a while before Vettel emerged as the quicker of the two with a 1:20.976.

And although Robert Kubica was the closest to the Red Bull drivers, he found himself over a second off the pace with Jenson Button fourth.

Report: Despite the clouds overhead and rain earlier this morning, the track temperature was already sitting at 31'C when the first practice for the Hungarian GP got underway on Friday morning. All eyes were focused on Felipe Massa as the Brazilian ventured out of the garage to put in his first lap at the circuit that almost claimed his life last season. No problems for the Ferrari driver, though, as he made his way back to his garage. But a few problems for Jarno Trulli as he returned to the Lotus garage with a lot of smoke pouring from his T127. Initial reports suggest it was perhaps bodywork that was overheating. Several drivers opted to do more than one installation lap while Nico Rosberg took it to the max, completing six!

Massa set the first time of the day, a rather slow 1:38.521, which was easily beaten by 12s by Adrian Sutil, who is debuting Force India's new blown diffuser exhaust. Jaime Alguersuari claimed second ahead of Bruno Senna and Sakon Yamamoto. Mark Webber joined the fray, taking first place with a 1:23.396. His team-mate Sebastian Vettel slotted in behind him as Webber lowered the benchmark time for the third successive lap. Pedro de la Rosa took third behind the Red Bulls, followed by Alguersuari, Vitaly Petrov, Nico Rosberg, Kamui Kobayashi and Sutil.

Michael Schumacher joined the running, claiming fourth place on his first lap, while Fernando Alonso went eighth quickest. At the halfway point of the session, Webber, with a 1:21.710, led Vettel, Rosberg, de la Rosa, Robert Kuibca, Schumacher, Petrov and Alguersuari. But that didn't last long as Vettel went quicker with a 1:21.275 and Schumacher climbed to third place behind the Bulls.

Kubica was the next to take the fight to the Bulls, moving up to third place with Barrichello fourth, followed by Schumacher, Alonso, Rosberg and de la Rosa. It was a slow start for McLaren with Lewis Hamilton only managing the 15th best time while his team-mate Jenson Button had yet to even set a time.

Vettel lowered the benchmark to a 1:21.177 but his team-mate Webber was on an even faster lap and took the P1 slot by 0.169s. With less than half
an hour on the clock, Button ventured out, taking 17th place, right behind Hamilton on the timesheets. Button continued lapping, moving up to fourth place.

Yellow flags were waved - for the first time in the session - when Vitaly Petrov spun his Renault through the last corner, coming to a halt on the straight. The rookie's mistake cost both Hamilton and Kubica, who are on quicker laps. The action resumed but with few changes to the timesheets as lap after lap the drivers put in the mileage, working on their programmes and eventually the data.

The final few minutes saw a flurry of activity but try as they might, Red Bull's rivals
were not able to put an end to the team's 1-2 with Vettel quicker than Webber. Kubica finished third but over a second off the pace.

01. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:20.976 29 laps
02. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:21.106 + 0.130 27 laps
03. Kubica Renault 1:22.072 + 1.096 21 laps
04. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:22.444 + 1.468 17 laps
05. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:22.601 + 1.625 25 laps
06. de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1:22.764 + 1.788 24 laps
07. Alonso Ferrari 1:22.772 + 1.796 25 laps
08. Rosberg Mercedes 1:22.777 + 1.801 25 laps
09. Schumacher Mercedes 1:22.792 + 1.816 26 laps
10. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:22.966 + 1.990 25 laps
11. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:23.003 + 2.027 19 laps
12. Massa Ferrari 1:23.007 + 2.031 26 laps
13. Petrov Renault 1:23.249 + 2.273 24 laps
14. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:23.327 + 2.351 23 laps
15. di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:23.520 + 2.544 19 laps
16. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:23.780 + 2.804 22 laps
17. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:23.868 + 2.892 28 laps
18. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:24.075 + 3.099 15 laps
19. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1:25.032 + 4.056 22 laps
20. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1:25.210 + 4.234 23 laps
21. Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:25.990 + 5.014 21 laps
22. di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1:26.686 + 5.710 17 laps
23. Senna HRT-Cosworth 1:26.990 + 6.014 34 laps
24. Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 1:28.157 + 7.181 24 laps

Source: Planet-F1

Thursday, July 29, 2010

[Photos] Kimi on Rally Finland, Day 1

[Photos] Hungarian GP Pre-events

Button happy Jessica is back

Jenson Button has admitted to being a far happier man now he is back in the arms of his girlfriend.

Button recently rekindled his relationship with Jessica Michibata, the Argentinian-Japanese lingerie model, after two months apart.

The World Champion revealed at last week's German Grand Prix that his time away from Michibata had made him realise he had made a mistake in splitting from her.

Today, ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix, Michibata was back in the McLaren brand centre in the Hungaroring paddock supporting Button.

"It's amazing, amazing. How can it not be? Look at her," said Button, wearing a broad grin.

"She arrived from Japan yesterday. She's only here for the weekend and then she has to go back.

"But I'll see her again in August for our summer break which will be nice, but it's great having her back here. It really is.

"Life has its positives and negatives for all of us, but I'm happy now.

"She just makes me happier. You have bad days and good days, but on the bad days she puts a smile on your face - and I don't mean in a weird way - but she's just a lovely person.

"But we're not going to have any bad days. We've agreed we're going to have a really good weekend this weekend."

With Michibata again in tow, joining father John who is a permanent fixture at races, Button knows he can relax and enjoy his weekend and leave them to enjoy theirs.

"I'm very lucky with my family, my old man and Jessica that I don't have to worry about them over the weekend," added Button.

"They do their own thing, they're out of the way and they never bother me, which is quite nice.

"They know when to speak and when not to."

Source: Planet F1

Red Bull drivers suffered engine problems in Germany

Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber both suffered engine problems last weekend at Hockenheim, according to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

Webber, who finished an unaccustomed sixth, revealed he had to reduce his speed in the second half of the race because the supply of oil from an auxiliary tank was not working.

"I was happy to just get to the finish," said Webber. "It was our strategy to only show our final package on the very last day of testing. So we were down on kilometres to guard against all those sorts of issues."

Vettel, who finished third after starting on pole, encountered problems between the Friday practice sessions when his high-mileage Renault V8 was replaced after an oil sample was tested.

Vettel had been hoping to convert his pole position into another race win but a poor start saw him squeezed out by the two Ferraris into the first corner. The team's race starts is an area team boss Christian Horner is looking to address.

"They were definitely not the best starts," admitted Horner. "It has happened to us several times this season."

Source: ESPNF1

Kimi Räikkönen Interview at Neste Oil Rally Finland 2010


Solberg takes early lead in Finland; Kimi is 10th so far

Buoyed by his podium performance in Bulgaria, Solberg holds Thursday's overnight lead
Petter Solberg moved into an early lead of the 2010 Neste Oil Rally Finland after setting the fastest time on Thursday evening’s opening stage.

The Citroen C4 WRC driver completed the short Laajavuori sprint stage in 2min 33.2sec, exactly one second quicker than his nearest rival, Ford team-leader Mikko Hirvonen.

At the finish control, Solberg claimed to have taken a gentle approach to the stage. “I was a bit chicken in there,” he said. “The time felt good but the proper stuff starts tomorrow so I was a bit careful.”

Hirvonen, who won Rally Finland last year, also claimed to have more speed in reserve. “It was quite a steady start, and I made a few small mistakes, but I think we’re in the game now. We’ll see for sure tomorrow morning,” said the Finn.

Sebastien Loeb and Jari-Matti Latvala will start Friday’s competition tied in third place after both completing in 2min 34.8sec - 1.6sec slower than Solberg. Sebastien Ogier rounded off the top five times, on his first competitive outing driving for the Citroen Total team.

Neste Oil Rally Finland resumes on Friday morning, with the first stage - the 12.75km Urria - getting underway at 0742hrs.

Results after SS1, Thursday:

Source: WRC

Fernando Alonso Q&A: My reputation is intact

They say you can recognise a champion in the way he handles a crisis - and many would say the aftermath of the German Grand Prix constituted a crisis for Ferrari. Perhaps no surprise then that the team’s double world champion, Fernando Alonso, seems completely unflustered by the continuing media attention in Hungary. All that matters to him is that his 2010 title campaign is back on track. Only in Abu Dhabi will we know just how critical his Hockenheim pass on Felipe Massa was…

Q: Fernando, how much have you been affected by what was written about you and Ferrari after the result of the German Grand Prix?
Fernando Alonso: Of course it doesn't affect me, not at all. If we lost only one percent of our concentration because of things that have been said in the media we'd be totally lost. Not only because of Germany, but because there's always a small anecdote to every race - one time it is the crash between the Red Bulls in Turkey, the next time it is the overtaking in the pit lane between Massa and myself. There is always something to talk about the week after a race, so we cannot pay too much attention to it. There are many opinions on things anyway, and many things have been said in the last couple of days. The opinion of some of the drivers or team principals is their opinion and we respect that, but we have to concentrate on our job. For us the only important thing is that the car is competitive and we can do well here in Hungary as well.

Q: What do you think the fans are making of what happened and what has been written in the media?
FA: For sure some of them are unhappy with some races and not only the one in Germany. There were also some other races this year. Some other fans don't care.Today when I arrived in Hungary, the airport was full, also the hotel was full of people cheering for us, and these are the fans I saw so far. Maybe I will see some others that are unhappy, but for now I only saw the ones that were happy.

Q: What’s your comment on Felipe Massa saying that he is not a number-two driver?
FA: I think there is no number-two driver, and also no number-one driver. I think it is more about the respect for each other, and moreover respect for racing for the Scuderia - which means a lot. I think we are happy with the performance of the car in the last couple of races and in Germany finally there was the point were we arrived with both cars to the chequered flag without any problems and we were both able to score points. But also in Silverstone and Valencia the car was good, so our aim here is to continue this line. There is nothing to add to this conversation - it is the past and we said everything in Germany already.

Q: Do you think because of what happened in Germany, your personal reputation has been affected?
FA: I don't think anything has changed for me or that anything will come back to me. I am still the same and I will always fight for the best things possible, for my team, for the sport and hopefully I can do well my entire career. So I do not think at all that my reputation has taken any bad affect because of this.

Q: Do you have any concerns that the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) meeting on this topic will bring any further sanctions to you or the team?
FA: I am not wasting any time thinking of the verdict with the WMSC meeting.We drivers have to fully concentrate on the races ahead now, and especially this one, as we have some good possibilities of delivering a good performance. Anything that happens in the future of the WMSC is not in our hands.


Hungarian GP – Best wishes Fernando Alonso

Scuderia Ferrari chose to celebrate Fernando Alonso’s birthday out of the glare of the spotlight, presenting the Spaniard, who turned twenty nine today, with a giant birthday cake here in Budapest for the twelfth round of the Formula 1 World Championship. The entire team turned out to wish Fernando the best and team principal Stefano Domenicali expressed the good wishes of all the Ferrari family.

Fernando was clearly moved by the occasion: “I will never forget this first birthday spent with you and I am speechless at the warmth of this gesture. To be here at the very track where I took my first ever Formula 1 win all goes to make this a truly magical moment. Thanks to all of you.”


Kankkunen & Kimi Räikkönen on SS1 WRC Rally Finland 2010

Source: amjayes

Kimi Räikkönen Press Conference at Neste Oil Rally Finland 2010

Kimi Räikkönen at Press Conference Today

Q: Kimi, your pace on the tarmac of Bulgaria was impressive; accident aside were you pleased with your pace there?
KR: It should be a little more easy on tarmac, but then we end up upside down in the ditch. At least we can come back and we got a lot of kilometres. Speed-wise, it was pretty okay, apart from the accident.

Q: You never had the chance to compete in F1 at home but now you do in rally – what’s it like to come home and compete?
KR: Of course it’s nice to come and see the fans. And, of course, the organisation of this rally is very good and so is the driving. It’s no different from any other rallies, but things outside of the rally are definitely easier: we don’t have to travel so far. It’s great to be here, this is a great rally and the weather seems to be good at the moment.

Q: You competed here last year but in an S2000 car – have you started from scratch with the notes for this time around in a WRC car?
KR: I know the roads a little bit, but most of them are okay and that helps a little. The roads are fast and it will be faster than S2000, we will try and drive our own rally. We have used the basic [notes] from last year and changed them, it was bit easier. I have driven most of the roads [before] and that definitely helps to know the road a little – hopefully that will make this event a little bit easier.

Q: Kimi, two Citroën drivers have confirmed for next season, is there any news from you?
KR: No, not yet. We have some decisions to make and I haven’t done that yet.

Q: Question for Kimi: what do you think of team orders in F1?
KR: I’m not in Formula 1, so I don’t care what’s happening there.

Q: Kimi, what are your thoughts of the stage where you crashed last year?
KR: I hope I don’t go off in the same place! It’s a challenging stage, the longest stage of the rally. It’s different in areas, the rhythm changes a lot. We have very good notes and we try to do our best like in every stage in Finland.

Source: FIA
Courtesy: miezcat

Kimi isn't going back to F1!

Kimi Räikkönen is enjoying rally and doesn't miss the F1 world.

Kimi Räikkönen, who will drive in Jyväskylä's WRC rally for the second time, is being regularly connected to F1 (in the media). But Kimi is not about to go back to the world of F1.

-The F1 circles don't interest me one bit. I was there for several years and I don't miss it, said Kimi.Räikkönen left a small, almost nonexistent, backgate open for an F1 return.

-It's only worth going back to a team where one can win. And those teams are very few. The likelihood of my F1 return is in the range of a few percent.

Kimi is planning to drive rally also next year.

-We'll see what car I'll be driving then. There are a few choices, Kimi told

Courtesy: Dracaena

Hirvonen fastest at Finland Shakedown

Finn Mikko Hirvonen got his quest for a second victory on his home rally off to a perfect start earlier today by setting the fastest time at the pre-event shakedown for Neste Oil Rally Finland.
The four hour test - a prelude to this weekend's rally - took place on a 4.46km gravel road in Muurame, 10km from the Jyvasykla Servce Park. The stage is a new choice for Shakedown and replaces Laajavuori, which will be used as part of this year’s competitive route. Conditions were dry, sunny and humid throughout the test, with the temperature peaking at a sweltering 34 degrees Celsius.

"The car feels great" said Mikko after completing his third run in a session-winning time of 2m 02.2s. "At our pre-event test we tried so many things, but I didn’t have enough time to get confident with the set-up we’re going to use. Now I feel ready.”

“The shakedown road is definitely better than the one we’ve used for the last four years. It’s really nice, fast and there are big jumps - so a really good stage. Can I win again? Well, let’s just say I think we have a chance to fight for it,” added the Ford Focus RS WRC driver.

Citroen C4 WRC driver Sebastien Loeb and Hirvonen’s team-mate Jari-Matt Latvala were joint closest to the wining time, both stopping the clock just one-tenth off.

Sebastien Ogier and Dani Sordo were fourth and fifth fastest respectively.

After his podium finish on the most recent rally in Bulgaria, Petter Solberg ended the session with the sixth-fastest time - eight-tenths off Hirvonen’s - and brimming with confidence. “I didn’t change anything and we were fastest on the early runs, I’m really happy, no problems at all”, he said. “We did a proper test, we did absolutely the right things and I feel I’m back fighting with the best in the world. I feel this more since Bulgaria. We will be on the top on every rally from here!”

Here are the Shakedown times of the leading WRC drivers:

1. HIRVONEN. Ford Focus RS WRC 09. 2:02.2

=2. LATVALA. Ford Focus RS WRC 09. 2:02.3

=2. LOEB. Citroen C4 WRC. 2:02.3

4. OGIER. Citroen C4 WRC. 2:02.4

5. SORDO. Citroen C4 WRC. 2:02.6

6. P. SOLBERG. Citroen C4 WRC. 2:03.0

7. WILSON. Ford Focus RS WRC 08. 2:04.0

8. H. SOLBERG. Ford Focus RS WRC 08. 2:04.6

=9. OSTBERG. Subaru Impreza WRC06. 2:05.2

=9. RAIKKONEN. Citroen C4 WRC. 2:05.2

10. Al QASSIMI. Ford Focus RS WRC 08. 2:06.6

11. KANKKUNEN. Ford Focus RS WRC 08. 2:08.4

Source: WRC

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

[Video] Sebastian visits his fans at Hockenheim

Source: YouTube @ fran83b

FIA Press Conference Schedule - Hungary

A year on from his near-fatal accident at the Hungaroring, Felipe Massa is among the drivers facing the media in Thursday’s conference, while on Friday his Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali will be just one of those fielding the questions…

Thursday, July 29, 1500 hours local time (1300 GMT):
Rubens Barrichello (Williams), Heikki Kovalainen (Lotus), Robert Kubica (Renault), Felipe Massa (Ferrari) and Sakon Yamamoto (HRT).

Friday, July 30, 1600 hours local time (1400 GMT):
Eric Boullier (Renault), Stefano Domenicali (Ferrari), Christian Horner (Red Bull) and Colin Kolles (HRT).

The qualifying and post-race conferences with the top three drivers will take place immediately after the respective sessions.


Fernando Alonso 'demanded McLaren force Lewis Hamilton to play second fiddle'

Fernando Alonso demanded McLaren force Lewis Hamilton to play second fiddle, it is alleged today.

The double world champion's Ferrari team were fined after benefitting from team orders in Germany on Sunday.

But Mirror Sport can exclusively reveal that this is not the first time Alonso has been linked to such a controversy.

Paddock sources say he had talks with McLaren bosses Martin Whitmarsh and Ron Dennis on the morning of the 2007 Hungarian Grand Prix.

After a controversial qualifying session, Alonso demanded McLaren give him priority within the team. The day before, his rivalry with Hamilton over the world championship had burst into the open with an on-track confrontation.

Alonso had roared to pole, but only by blocking his teammate and preventing him getting in a fast lap.

Stewards dropped the Spaniard to sixth and Hamilton was elevated to pole.

On race-day, Hamilton roared to victory to stretch his lead in the title race to seven points.
Alonso charged to fourth to reduce the damage caused by his own dubious tactics.

It is claimed that on the morning of the event he confronted the team and wanted to be given preferrential treatment on the track over his rookie team-mate, but that McLaren refused to do so. And months later they lost the world title by a single point. Alonso's manager, Luis Abad, denied the 2007 claim when he said: "I don't want to talk about it but in any case, it's not true."

Last night team boss Whitmarsh refused to comment specifically on that day in Hungary three years ago.

But he said Britain's top team would never stoop to favouritism and the tactics that see Ferrari in the dock over Sunday's German GP, facing a possible ban from the sport. "There is no doubt that this team desperately wants to win world championships," said Whitmarsh.

"We are immensely competitive and it does cause most of us a physical pain when we are not winning. It is a deeply unpleasant experience and that drives us on.

"During 2007 we sacrificed a world championship. We lost a championship by one point.

"Had we leaned to the advantage of one of our two drivers that year - and there were lots of temptations to do so - then it would have made enough of a difference to have acquired the extra point to have won the championship.

"During that phase I remember talking to the drivers and their management and saying what a great driver would want to do is look at himself in the mirror and say 'I have won this world championship on merit' and not by the team leaning one way and giving him an advantage.

"If McLaren won a championship where I think we did something dodgy to achieve it... if you did the record book might show it but in your heart I don't think you would have the same feeling of pleasure.

"If you win against the odds it is slightly more enjoyable. If you win when you have swayed it to your advantage by cheating or doing something unsporting, you would not feel so good.

Source: The Mirror