Kimi staying put

Citroën has been running two teams in the World Rally Championship in recent years: the Citroën Total World Rally Team, which features multiple World Champion Sébastien Loeb and, until recently Dani Sordo, and the Citroën Junior Team, which in 2010 was sponsored by Red Bull and featured drivers Sébastien Ogier and former F1 driver Kimi Räikkönen. This year Ogier has moved up to partner Loeb, Sordo has joined Mini and the Junior Team is being discontinued – at least in name. It seems that the team will continue to exist, under the management of Benoit Nogier. The difference is that the cars will be leased to private operations, although the preparation and rally operations will be undertaken by the team, which has thus become a commercial enterprise, rather than a secondary factory team.

There will still be four cars running out of the team’s headquarters in Satory, near Versailles, but two will be customer cars. One of these will be run for Dutchman Peter van Merksteijn Jr under the Van Merksteijn Motorsport banner and the other will be for Kimi Räikkönen, who will compete under the new ICE 1 Racing WRC Team, which is funded by sponsors. It is expected that both cars will be seen in 10 of the 13 WRC events. Norway’s Petter Solberg was hoping to be involved but it seems that he will continue to run his own operation as and when he can.

There was never much doubt that Räikkönen would stay in the World Rally Championship in 2011, having started down a new career path in 2010, after an unhappy time at Ferrari in 2008 and 2009, which followed his World Championship title with the team in 2007.

The monosyllabic Finn says that he will not rule out a return to Formula 1 one day, but added that if he had missed F1 he would have returned but found that he did not miss it all.

10 thoughts on “Kimi staying put

  1. Kimi’s still my fave.
    Sports need characters like Kimi, plus he’s talented as all hell.
    I wish him nothing but the best.

  2. One of the best driver I’ve seen, fast, talented and original. He doesn’t talk much? So what! He’s a sports driver not a sports commentator. Even Michael Schumacher recognized that Kimi’s one of the one of the strongest rivals he has come up against.
    Norbert Haug said in public that in 2003 and 2005 Kimi did not win de WDC, in part, because of the reliabilty problems of the McLaren-Mercedes, specially the V10 Mercedes engine.
    No excuses…just facts of life.
    And talking about pay driver…isn’t Alonso one of them? He arrived at Ferrari by the hand of Mr. Botin and all the money of Banco Santander, so that makes him of ’em.

  3. Great to see Kimi is going to back on the WRC, I love seeing greats from one form of motor racing try their hands at something different. I have enormous respect for Kimi walking away from F1 to try rallying, I would like for him to return but not as much as I would like to see him succeed in the WRC.

    Kimi will always have a special place in my heart if only for the reason he gave to Brundle for nott seeingPele on the grid at Interlagos! I’d much rather people on the F1 circus were honest rather than spout public-o-crap all the time

  4. Jim,

    Kimi Raikkonen, character? Are we talking about the 2007 World Champ or someone else? Sure he got drunk a couple of times in public but does that make him a “character”? He was quick, no question, but when was the last time a World Champion got sacked by Ferrari?

  5. I’ve always thought rally drivers were better than F1 drivers. Its interesting to have a recent F1 WDC competing in WRC to enable some comparison. Much like Surtees in bikes and later F1. But I’ll give Kimi a few more years to gain experience before passing judgement.

  6. I think Kimi after the first year in rally, he has grown and this year will be a competitive driver. I don’t think he will want or get the offers to return to F1…

  7. Kimi , Kimi , miserable bugger , I have supported racing since the 1960s and as a lad , interviewed some of the greats on tape , I remember sitting in a caravan with JYS and Helen Stewart in 1971 and he was willing to spend 30 mins with an upstart lad !

    Kimi is a good driver but an ignorant man, in F1 he could not care about the fans, as for WRC, Cardiff last year, at the autograph session Kimi was sullen, Seb L was enjoying and Petter S wad laying on the desk signing away …..

    enough said !

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