Kimi Swedish Rally Review
Ruts, spins - and banks
The Swedish Rally was my first world championship rally with WRC car. Well, we finished the rally in one piece. It was the target and it was the most positive thing to achieve from the weekend.
Obviously, I made a couple of silly mistakes that I could have lived without. We paid heavily for those and it hurt badly our result.
The Swedish Rally is a very demanding race. The roads are covered with snowy ice. If you come out of the ruts, there is soft snow and you spin easily. Then you get snow all over the car, cannot see anything - and so you are hit the snow bank.
That's what happened to us. We went there with walking speed, but stuck on the soft snow bank. Then I had to take the spade and start digging the car out of the snow.
Well, that's one thing you have to experience in a rally. It's normal and I know that those who now are the leaders, have had their share of shovelling, too. I guess, not even Sibelius started by composing the Finlandia first.
All in all the Swedish Rally offered us an very interesting weekend. Okay, perhaps we didn't have any expectations but, for sure, the pressure was there, while we started the rally. It was difficult, but it feels good it's done now.
Every single mile I'll get under my belt with this car is very important for me now. The more I'll find the good feeling with the car, the better it goes. Even now from time to time I started to feel better and I got along with the car better and better.
While we do the stages for the second time, obviously, it helps and makes it a little bit easier.
After our "hiccups" in the beginning, we decided not to seek some better set-ups. We went to Sebastien Loeb's set-up and started to learn to drive the car with it. I just focussed on baseline driving and to keeping the car on the road.
After getting used to how the car handled, it was easier - although the circumstances were changing all the time. At least, next time I know the car better and then we can ask more from the car, too.
It felt good to have some good times. For sure, I experienced once more how important it is to get the pace notes exactly right. When the note is ok, it's so much easier to go fast. There were some places, my notes were wrong - and there we suffered the most.
I said already before going to Sweden, this rally on snow will be a very difficult race to start the season. Obviously, I have not done a single meter with this car on gravel or on asphalt, but I bet it's not going to more difficult, at the very least.
Now we focus on the next rally. It's Mexico and it's the first rally on gravel. We'll have one day of testing with the car in France. Then it's Viva la Mexico and it will thrilling to see my co-driver Kaj Lindstrom with a sombrero on.