F1 world champion Kimi Räikkönen will return to rally and will most likely reach the World Championship level. This is what Tapio Laukkanen, who served as Räikkönen's rally coach, believes.
Räikkönen, 40, is known as an extremely passionate rally man. He started racing in 2009 while still in Ferrari’s F1 stable. When the first Ferrari pest in Räikkönen's career ended after the 2009 season, the Finnish star moved permanently to the World Rally Championship for two years.
The return to the F1 series came true in 2012, but interest in the rally has remained. Räikkönen said already in connection with his return to F1 that he would still like to drive the rally. He has also stated several times since that the rally is still in mind - a speech along these lines has been heard this year as well.
F1 driver Kimi Räikkönen is a passionate rally man.
Photo: Alessio Morgese / Zuma
Tapio Laukkanen, 50, who won the Finnish and British championships in his own career, served as Räikkönen's rally coach when the Finnish star decided to try the rally more than ten years ago. Laukkanen, who is an insider of the sport, says that Räikkönen's passion for the rally is still strong. He states that he is almost certain that Räikkönen will return to the rally tracks.
Laukkanen also said that it would not be enough for Räikkönen to have fun, but to get a top-class car.
- Kim is definitely interested in driving the rally. I think he will join again when the formula jobs are left, Laukkanen says.
- And driving a WRC car is a salet if you drive something in a rally. He is no longer going to drive a lower-class car, so to speak, so to speak.
Kimi Räikkönen in the drivers of a rally car in Mexico 2010.
Laukkanen considers Räikkönen's return to the World Rally Championship to be entirely possible.
- It is then another matter whether a man with a family would have enough time and interest to drive the full World Championship series, but there is definitely a passion for rallying.
- Why couldn't he also drive in the World Cup? His market value is still quite terrible and once again it will be that joining Kim would also be very good for the World Championship series.
Tapio Laukkanen won the British and Finnish championships in his own rally career. Archive image of the RAC Rally 1995.
Photo: Timo Pylvänäinen
Tommi Mäkinen, the current boss of the Toyota WRC team, is a friend of Räikkönen and Kaj Lindström, a former co-driver of Räikkönen, who works as the sports director at the Toyota team.
Tommi Mäkinen Racing produced the early stages of Räikkönen's rally adventure as full board in late 2008 and early 2009. It was a time when Mäkinen's meritorious Toyota WRC project was only dreamed of.
And when the rallies had been run, Räikkönen was found in Puuppola on the benches of Mäkinen's sauna. Ferrari's number one star Räikkönen at the time was also a guest of honor when Mäkinen opened his new premises in Puuppola in the summer of 2009.
Against this background, the fastest and most likely route for Räikkönen's possible rally return would seem clear - the track would seem to be open to Toyota at least to some extent.
On the other hand, everything is speculation as long as Räikkönen wants to drive in the F1 series and gets attractive offers in the royal class of motorsport.
Tallipomo Mäkinen doesn't directly knock out the idea of driving Räikkönen at some point on Toyota, but he also doesn't go to the point.
- Depending on the situation, you have to look at how to find the equipment. You can always discuss and look at things, but there has been no talk of this with Kim, Mäkinen acknowledged to IS.
Toyota team boss Tommi Mäkinen is a friend of Kimi Räikkönen.
Photo: Petteri Kivimäki
Laukkanen, who once worked for Tommi Mäkinen Racing, also does not speculate on the possible cooperation between Räikkönen and Toyota. On a general level, Laukkanen says that he believes that Räikkönen would have a WRC car for at least individual rallies, if he wanted to.
- Kim has a market value and the sponsor side would probably come for it then. I don’t think he’s bothering to pay for everything in his own bag.
- But not Kimi rally to play source. He’s the kind of man that needs to get something done too, and he has a huge amount of ambition in racing.