2007 Formula 1 World Campion will make his WRC debut at his home rally in Finland. The rally which takes place at the end of July will be the Finns first rally on a gravel surface. The current Ferrari champion has said he will eventually make a switch between F1 and the WRC; it was just a matter of when. It looked as though that could have been a real possibility for the next season, however a deal that saved the championship and Formula 1 altogether was reached and the championship should still go on next year.
Kimi will pilot the same Abarth Grand Punto he has been in for the other three rallies he has competed in this year. With co-driver Kaj Lindstrom. Lindstrom as you may remember worked with four-time world champion Tommi Makinen. The Fiat is from the stable of Lindstrom’s race team but it is unsure what class Raikkonen will be running in.
In my opinion this is a very well time moved for Kimi. There are a number of teams that have expressed interest in having the Finn on board. Especially with one Finn on his way out of a factory ride at the end of the season. Kimi has shown strongly so far in his brief rally career. He finished 13th in his first event at the Arctic Rally. He has participated in snow, tarmac, and now will get his taste at gravel which I think will be good for his style. Finns are actually all very good on the gravel surface and he should gain valuable knowledge on how the sport operates over a longer three day event.
This is also a feel good story for the WRC. The once premier rally championship has suffered due to the constant changes from the FIA and is looking to reclaim the glory they once had. Having a name like Kimi in the field will be a big boost and bring in some of the F1 crowd who may not usually watch the rally side. I will be rooting for Kimi as he is my favorite F1 driver, but on this occasion he will have to take a back seat to Hirvonen. Rally Finland starts on the 31st of July. We will be carrying daily results and will keep a special eye on Kimi’s progress in his first WRC rally.