Raikkonen experiences the ups and downs of Rally Finland
Rally Finland - Day two
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!”
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