• Nov 22nd 2009 at 3:03PM
  • 10
It used to be that a racing driver would pick his form of motorsport at the beginning of his career and stick with it for the duration. Sure, there have been a few notable exceptions – especially among the Finns – but these days, it seems as if the exceptions are gaining on the norm. F1 drivers like Juan Pablo Montoya are moving to NASCAR, WRC aces like Sebastien Loeb and MotoGP champs like Valentio Rossi are trying their hand at F1, while F1 champs like Michael Schumacher are checking out motorbike racing. But the latest trend has a growing number of current, active Formula One drivers contesting rallies on the world stage.

The most notable is Kimi Raikkonen, who has driven a few rallies behind the wheel of his own Punto Abarth. Now that he's looking to sit out of the next F1 season, all indications are that the departing Ferrari driver will find his way into the WRC. While downplaying the lingering prospect of the 2007 Formula One champion racing for the newly-christened Mercedes Grand Prix team next season, his managers are reportedly hard at work to get him a WRC drive for 2010. The most likely scenario would place Raikkonen with Citroen: Both the French rally team and the Finnish driver are sponsored by Red Bull, and the rapprochement could could pave the way for Kimi to return to F1 in 2011 for Red Bull Racing.

Even Red Bull's current F1 ace, Sebastian Vettel, has reportedly expressed interest in trying his hand at rallying, although his team principal is reportedly against the idea. After winning the Nations Cup at the Race of Champions together with Schumacher three years running, the young German has certainly demonstrated the versatility of his talent.

Meanwhile, the highly-rated Robert Kubica is preparing for his second rally since leaving BMW Sauber for the Renault F1 team. After a dismal first attempt, the Pole is set to return to the wheel of a Renaultsport Clio R3 Maxi for the final round of the French Rally Championship at Var next weekend. If Kubica manages to finish this time around, we could yet see more F1 drivers following him onto the rally scene.

[Sources: Autosport and F1-Live | Image: Clive Mason/Getty]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Rally out of all forms of motorsports that i can think of (which consist, f1, btcc, drifting?, stock car), is one of the hardest sport. It not only have speed, but you need to have master control of your car, you need to have fast reaction, you need to have the ability to predict certain situations, and also you need trust in your co driver. In most sports, its just you, the car, and the dude on the other side of the mic, but in rally, your co driver is who u trust and put your life on the line for. The co driver tells you when to turn the corner, what is coming up next, and thats why it is so hard to do rally. F1 is just extreme speed, and cornering, it does not contain difference of gravel, tarmac, snow, dirt...etc, so im glad to see more people switching over to the more extreme sport, sure in f1 you make more money, but rally is more fun, more challenging.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Rally looks like something that is more fun to watch then to do.
      In person, it has to suck, you have to walk out to the middle of nowhere and sit and wait for cars to fly by one at a time with zero idea of who is leading. Then you have to move again to the next stage. No beer sales, no restrooms, extreme heat and dust or cold and snow.
      Even on TV it sucks unless they just do a compeltation of jumps, near misses and full on crashes. And even the biggest NASCAR hater will watch the same thing from a oval race.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I wish more manufacturers would join/rejoin the WRC. Seeing nothing but Citroens and Fords almost makes it a spec series. I miss Subaru!

      On the driver end of things though, this certainly makes it more interesting. Loeb, Hirvonen, Sordo, and Latvala are very good and these drivers, plus Ken Block would make for an extremely competitive season, variety of cars or not.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Would be fairly interesting to see how well Vettel and Kubica can do. Raikkonen looks to be quite good actually (if he doesnt crash).


      His onboard clip from Finland:

      He was third in his category (and 15th overall) until he crashed.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Put a highway patrolman's hat on Vettel and he's Barney Fife.
      • 5 Years Ago