Kimi Mexican Rally Preview
This is my first trip to Mexico, this is my first rally in this continent and this is my first rally on gravel with this Red Bull Citroen WRC car. Obviously, it’s several new things for me on the same trip.
This is my seventh rally with my co-driver Kaj Lindstrom. Like always, we came here with a very positive feeling. It’s going to be very interesting to see, how the car works out here and how much grip there is this time after two rallies on such a different surface.
When you look the sceneries behind the windshield, you see a barren mountain range, stunted trees, dry and dust. The weather is very warm and we are something like 2000 metres over sea level. Well, it’s going to pretty sweaty rally. No doubt about it.
I’ve been seeing all the time, the importance of getting the pace notes right. Now it’s going to be even more decisive. I noticed how much effort you have to put in while making the notes. Now it feels a bit easier, but, for sure, it’s never going to be the easiest job of the world.
We didn’t test after the Swedish Rally, but now we have done the pace notes here in Leone area. My aim is exactly the same we had in Sweden – to finish the rally without too much extra program on the road.
Every single mile means more experience for me and more feel for me. While we do every stage twice, it helps a little bit. But here, obviously, the roads will be wearing and the surface will be changing all the time. So you never how it is, while you attack on the stage.
I’ve been racing only once before on gravel. It was the Finnish Rally last year with my own car. Gravel is the surface that everybody associates with rallying. And for me it’s a complete contrast to anything that I experienced in Formula 1 racing.
Sliding with a Formula 1 car meant you did something wrong. Here it’s like it should be in a rally. We learned a lot in Sweden and this will certainly help us in Mexico, but effectively we are starting all over again from the beginning now, as this rally has nothing in common with Sweden.
My approach is going to be exactly the same though: we want to build up our speed at a comfortable pace and above all get to the finish.
I'm hoping that Mexico will be a little easier for us, but with gravel being the most common surface on the World Rally Championship it's important for us to learn as much as possible.
We managed to get quicker and quicker the last time we were out and this will be the aim for us again in Mexico.