Kimi season preview - the Arctic start
Well, this is what I¹ve been looking for since signing the contract for WRC rally season 2010 with the Red Bull Citroen team.
My feeling is about the same like it always has been before the first race of the season in Formula One. Like we all I feel the butterflies in my stomach in a nice way. All in all my feeling is the very best to start racing again.
The most motivating thing for a racing driver is to approach a new kind of a challenge. Obviously, going to rally is all new challenge for me. That makes it so exciting to start this season.
The new car Citroen C4 WRC has fitted me well since the first test. Now we have had 3 days with it. It feels nice, while you see how effectively it reacts to the changes in the set-up. Everything we have tried has worked as it should. We feel we are working into the right direction and that¹s what the engineers confirmed to us in the briefings, too.
I start this brand-new campaign this week from the Arctic Lapland Rally in Rovaniemi. In our programme this rally is only a preparation like a final test for Sweden, where the WRC season starts in February. It¹s great to get going so soon. After testing the car first time in France, I¹ve been looking forward to race it, too.
The winter break went fast. I spent it exactly in the same way I always did while I was in Formula One. First I took some holiday, had fun with my family and friends and then I went back to training. I have trained in the same way like always with Mark Arnall. I know the rally will be physically very, very tough. It will be hard shaking and rattling and sometimes in the cockpit it will be hot like a Finnish sauna with your overall and helmet on.
You have to be top-fit to be able to focus all the time on your driving.
I¹ve always said that it¹s useless to give too much predictions before the the first race of the new season. Obviously, now I mean it even more than ever before. I don¹t know how the oldtime Finnish pioneer settlers felt before going to America, but, most likely, I feel a little bit the same for this new adventure of mine.
How it goes, I don¹t know. Let¹s wait and see, but, for sure, I can promise doing my very best in every rally. I¹m not going to give up a single bit.
Of course, the start of the season will be some kind of confidence building period, too. All the rallies outside of Finland are new places for me. I have to learn all the rallies and I have to learn to rely on the notes. It¹s very important for me to have Kaj Lindstrom as my co-driver. We get along fine and he is the best possible guy to work with. Without Kaj I propably would not have started this huge project at all.
We tested two days in Central Finland and everything went well. The car is realiable like a Swiss watch. Obviously, it¹s easy to see that the car has been strong and realiable, like it should while the team has won so many races and so many championships.
It¹s for sure all the other Formula One drivers would love to drive a rally car at least, to try how it goes. Well, I know already how it feels.
Now we go to Rovaniemi and start making notes on Tuesday. We are looking for the feeling on snow and we test that everything is working well in such a cold conditions. On Thursday we¹ll have a shakedown and then the race on Friday and on Saturday.