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Raikkonen drives Rally Finland in a Fiat Punto Abarth

The World Rally Championship is targeting the participation of four major manufacturers within the next two seasons, and according to the latest scuttlebutt, they just might get what they are wishing for. At the turn of the millennium, the premier rally series had seven manufacturers, but series organizers and promoters reportedly feel that four would make for a more competitive environment.

Suzuki and Subaru recently withdrew their works teams from the championship, leaving Ford and Citroën as the only manufacturers in the sport together with the independent customer teams. Both Volkswagen and Fiat are expected to launch WRC efforts in the near future, but it's Fiat's initiative that's garnering the most interest in the motorsport press, as it's rumored to include one very big name.

According to rumors, Kimi Raikkonen will leave Formula One and Scuderia Ferrari to lead the Fiat rally team, expected to compete under the Abarth name. Raikkonen recently contested a series of rallies in his spare time behind the wheel of his own S2000-spec Fiat Punto Abarth (pictured above), adding fuel to the speculation suggesting that Raikkonen could have his existing contract with Ferrari simply transferred over to the Abarth outfit, as it falls under the same Fiat group umbrella as Ferrari. The move would make room for Fernando Alonso to take Kimi's place in the culmination of a long anticipated move for the Spanish champion.

[Source: Autosport and Pitpass | Image: OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      VW Group already has Skoda in Rallying with the best S2000 there is. Don't see them making a new-WRC car. And Raikkonen still has a lot to give to F1. SO I don't expect to see him in a near future in WRC
      • 5 Years Ago
      Oooooh! Can't wait to see an Alitalia livery Abarth barreling around garvel corners again!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I wouldn't be surprised the F1 heads have a very stupid mentality of "the more cars there are on the grid the better F1 is".

      WRC has gone in the other direction by getting rid of uncompetitive teams and drumming up tight intense competition between a handful of the best engineers, cars and drivers.

      Half the teams in F1 do nothing and win nothing they are just there to clutter up the grid and advertise for their sponsors. Half the teams don't even make their own engines they get engines supplied by somebody else.

      F1 is just broken whereas they could just put the engine makers up against one another and field 3 cars each they decide to let in these crappy budget soapbox racers so it's obvious what is happening here.

      WRC is where things are happening.
        • 5 Years Ago
        WRC was a lot more fun back in the Nineties and early 00's when Mitsubishi, Subaru, Ford, Citroen, Toyota, Peugeot and even Skoda were duking it out. It's kinda boring now with just Ford and Citroen.
      • 5 Years Ago
      VW is not a good idea. bring Audi back to WRC !

      ...and VW to NASCAR :)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Raikkonen might as well move the way F1 is heading.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I wish i wrote about that earlier, i had a strong feeling they will transfer him onto a FIAT rally team. although this is not final, it follows the same logic i used.
        Kimi is bored with F1, WRC is a more challenging sport for an iceberg...
        • 5 Years Ago
        He will still have a bloody tough time beating Loeb, despite being an F1 champ. Good luck to him if the rumors are true, but by moving to rally he will fade into obscurity just like his countrymen Mika IMO.
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