Wednesday, October 20, 2010


This weekend, Red Bull driver Kimi Räikkönen will travel from Mexico to Polynesia to China to the Wild West. And he's not even going to leave Spain once

This geographic miracle is made possible by the fact that the Rally de Espana, also known to fans as the Catalunya Rally, is based in the Port Aventura theme park: Europe's answer to the famous Universal Studios in America. All these exotic regions of the world are represented in the park, thanks to stomach-churning rides such as the Grand Canyon Rapids, Furius Baco (the fastest rollercoaster in Europe with a top speed of 135kph) and the Dragon Khan (another rollercoaster, this time featuring eight inversions). Hold onto your paella...

Kimi's rally diet will be equally mixed, because the Rally de Espana takes in both asphalt and gravel surfaces this year. On Friday, the drivers will compete on gravel roads, whereas on Saturday and Sunday the surface will be the more typical fast and flowing asphalt that Spain's round of the World Rally Championship is famous for.

It is often said that the Catalunya Rally is the closest that world rallying comes to circuit racing. Kimi, knows a few things about racing thanks to his 18 Grand Prix wins, does not entirely agree. But like most of the events this year, it will be a brand new experience for the 'ice man'. So what does he think?

"I don't know the rally at all, but the route doesn't look like any race circuit I've ever seen, although I've heard some people say it's similar!" he joked before starting the recce. "This year it's going to be completely different too as the first day is gravel. But I think it's quite nice to have the variety on this event, even though gravel is not our strongest surface. In the end we'll just do our best and try not to make any mistakes, which has been our goal since the start of the year. It should be a very interesting rally that teaches us a lot, but I don't think we should have expectations that are too high. If we can be near the top six then that would be great, but the main is just to get to the end. If you go like crazy on the first day and go off, then you don't learn anything. And that's why I'm here: to learn."

Kaj Lindstrom, the man who reads Kimi his notes, has plenty of experience to pass on in Spain. But as Kaj points out, Kimi has been pretty good at teaching himself too. "Kimi's obviously been used to winning in Formula One all the time, and now in rallying he starts from scratch,'" said the Finn. "It can't be easy, having to go back to basics when you're a World Champion. But I've been really impressed by his attitude. He takes in absolutely everything and if you consider what he's achieved despite his lack of experience, it's pretty impressive. Hopefully Spain will be good for us: Kimi should be more comfortable on the asphalt roads of Saturday and Sunday."

The Rally de Espana is based in the popular tourist resort of Salou, an hour's drive south of Barcelona on the Costa Daurada. While the town is normally famous for buckets, spades and beaches, the coming weekend is going to be a long way from being a holiday for Kimi, Kaj and all the other intrepid Red Bull-backed World Rally Championship crews...

Source: RedBullRallye

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