The transition from Formula 1 star to World Rally Championship competitor was not, exactly, a smooth one for Kimi Räikkönen (FIN). Though the Finn had experience in amateur rallying and a love for the sport, adapting to driving a WRC-class car while relying on a team dynamic to get from Point A to Point B, all under the pressure of watchful eyes around the world and a lack of patience that comes with any previous mastery and competitive nature, was a vicious trial by fire for The Iceman. But, though his time in the WRC may have been short lived, with less than spectacular results to show, one (always) has to remember that the reason numbers never lie is because they never tell the whole story. And, Kimi’s WRC tale had some pretty spectacular chapters.
One of the great stories of Räikkönen’s WRC career was, without a doubt, the one of his first stage win. After a terminated contract with Ferrari (one year into a two-year agreement) left the Finn looking for a total change of direction (in 2009), Citroën Racing saw a promising partnership in the Formula 1 driver and signed him to their Junior team for the 2010 season (partnering some French guys, named Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia). Though the 12-round (of 13 possible, opting out of the pricy long-haul that is New Zealand) season got off to a rocky start, he (alongside co-driver Kaj Lindström-FIN, in the number 8 Citroën C4 WRC) scored his first WRC points with an eighth-place finish at Jordan (round three), followed by a fifth-place finish at Turkey. However, while posting competitive freshman season results, the Finnish duo had yet to win a stage. Until the final stage of the ninth stop on the calendar. Which just happened to be ADAC Rallye Deutschland. The 4.37km (2.72mi) city street Special Stage 19, Circus Maximus Trier, to be exact. Because, where else would Kimi Räikkönen get his first win (clinching a seventh-place finish), but on a tarmac stage at a rally surrounded by vineyards?
Sometimes, it (really) is just a matter of things clicking in the right place, at the right time, finding your (own) comfort zone and happy place, and always remembering to be yourself, isn’t it?
1 /// K RÄIKKÖNEN – FIN / K LINDSTRÖM – FIN
(CITROËN JUNIOR TEAM)
2 /// M WILSON – GBR / S MARTIN – GBR
(STOBART VK M-SPORT WRT)
3 /// S OGIER – FRA / J INGRASSIA – FRA
(CITROËN JUNIOR TEAM)
4 /// J-M LATVALA – FIN / M ANTTILA – FIN
(BP FORD ABU DHABI WRT)