Kimi Räikkönen is now a WRC driver. The Flying Finn will pilot one of two Citroën CR4 Junior Team cars with Kaj Lindström as his co-driver. It's been in the works for a while, and from the sounds of it, no one appears to have any doubts that Raikkonen will do well there. Team boss Olivier Quesnel rates the ex-Ferrari pilot highly, saying, "What he did there in a S2000 was amazing," when speaking of Kimi's run in an Abarth in a Finnish rally earlier this year.
Even 2003 WRC title winner Petter Solberg puts Kimi in with a shout, commenting, "If he's in a decent World Rally Car next season I think he could finish between third and fifth on some rallies." This will put four Citroën cars in next year's Championship, with returning title winners Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena, Dani Sordo and Marc Marti, plus the junior cars of Räikkönen/Lindström and Sébastien Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia. You can check out Citroën's official release after the jump.
CITROËN RACING AND RED BULL GIVE WINGS TO KIMI RÄIKKÖNEN IN 2010
4th December 2009 -- Since its establishment in 2008, the association between Citroën Racing and Red Bull has already reaped world titles for Citroën, Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena in 2008 and 2009*, and the ties between the two companies are to be stepped up for next season. In addition to the Citroën Total World Rally Team-entered C4 WRCs of Sébastien Loeb and Dani Sordo, a second team will also now run two C4 WRCs for Kimi Räikkönen and Sébastien Ogier in the colours of Red Bull and Citroën.
The collaboration between Citroën and Red Bull, which dates back to the 2008 Rally Argentina (won by Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena) and which has since harvested 15 other wins, is to be reinforced in 2010. As in 2008 and 2009, the two Citroën Total World Rally Team-run C4 WRCs will both sport the livery of the famous energy drink, and the defending World Champions have renewed their faith in Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena and Dani Sordo/Marc Marti.
The deal will be extended in 2010 to include the two Citroën Junior Team cars that will compete in Red Bull's colours on 12 of the 2010 FIA World Rally Championship's 13 rounds, the exception being the Rally of New Zealand. These two Citroën C4 WRCs will be campaigned by Kimi Räikkönen/Kaj Lindström and Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia.
Finland's Kimi Räikkönen, 30, who has won 18 Formula 1 Grands Prix, claimed the Formula 1 world crown in 2007, and contested several rallies in 2009 - including his home round of the WRC - said: "I always wanted to compete in rally, especially in the World Rally Championship at some point in my career. Thanks to Red Bull, I have the opportunity to drive the best car of the series with the Citroën C4. This is a new but very exciting challenge. For the moment we have a one-year contract and we will see how it goes for the future. I am really looking forward to testing the car and taking the start of the first rally."
Citroën Racing Director, Olivier Quesnel added: "Red Bull's commitment and energy are a perfect fit for Citroën's ongoing thirst for victory. We will continue to count on Sébastien and Dani to defend our world titles in 2010, and we will also be prolonging our association with Sébastien Ogier who showed outstanding potential this year. Last but not least, it is with immense joy that we welcome Kimi Räikkönen to our ranks. We are very proud that he has chosen Citroën. In addition to the confirmation of these four crews, we will hopefully be able to announce other programmes over the coming weeks."
* Subject to the official publication of the results by the FIA