Kimi aims to stay afloat in Jordan
Red Bull Jordan Rally preview
There are actually no hidden bodies in the Dead Sea, close to Amman in Jordan: the venue for round three of Kimi Raikkonen’s World Rally Championship assault with Red Bull. Instead, the name comes from the fact that the water is made up of 33% salt, making it impossible for nature to stay alive for very long.
Tourism though is very much alive. The Dead Sea is now a busy holiday resort, with people flocking to sit up on water that makes them more buoyant than Elvis Presley in a rubber ring. This week though, the holidaymakers’ peace will be interrupted by the noise of rally cars. It’s time to stop floating and pay attention.
Many sporting events lay claim to record-breaking superlatives, but the Jordan Rally is the only motorsport competition in the world held below sea level - pending the formation of a submarine Grand Prix series, at least.
Rally Jordan could not be a greater contrast to Kimi’s last event in Mexico, which was held at around 2800 metres in altitude. Nonetheless, Kimi is looking to adopt exactly the same tactic on only the eighth-ever rally he has contested in his life this week. With dust, gravel, and sand, the terrain Jordan is as unfamiliar to Kimi as eating sheeps’ eyes: a notorious delicacy of the Middle East.
Kimi gave a hint of what he is capable of with a fifth-fastest time on stage four of Rally Mexico but he is looking to build up to speed as the Jordan Rally goes on.
"For sure, it’s another huge challenge for me but I’m getting used to that now!" said Kimi. "I’ve done some testing which helps, but obviously Jordan will be a completely new set of conditions and we will need a bit of time to get used to them. Each of the three rallies we have done so far is massively different, but this is part of rallying; you have to be quick everywhere on all the various surfaces. Of all the events we have tried, this is the territory that is probably the most unfamiliar so far, so it’s going to be an interesting adventure and the main idea is obviously to get to the end. I’m looking forward to it: I’m feeling good and I’m ready to go."
Jordan is also one of the few rallies that Kimi’s experienced co-driver Kaj Lindstrom - the veteran of 64 WRC events - has never competed on before. "That’s true, but you just treat every rally in the same way and get on with your job," said Kaj. "It does mean that it’s going to be very important for us to get through all the stages and make good pace notes. That’s one area where Kimi has improved a lot so far this year and it’s getting better and better all the time. So I think we’ll have a good time; and we’ll make sure that we avoid any camels..."
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