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Kimi Raikkonen buoyed by WRC rally debut for Citroen

Kimi Raikkonen
Raikkonen would have finished in the top 10 but for an opening-day crash

Former Formula 1 world champion Kimi Raikkonen was encouraged by his World Rally Championship debut for Citroen despite finishing 30th in Sweden.

The Finn recovered from hitting a snow bank on stage six to finish 37 minutes off winner Mikko Hirvonen.

Raikkonen, 30, said: "It was a really encouraging event, which allowed me to learn so much."

Ford's Hirvonen was 42.3 seconds ahead of Raikkonen's team-mate Sebastien Loeb while Jari-Matti Latvala was third.

Citroen boss Olivier Quesnel was quick to praise Raikkonen's efforts after a difficult weekend.

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"We cannot ask too much of Kimi at this stage," he said.

"Sweden I think is the most difficult rally to start with, and everybody is looking at him and waiting for - I don't know what - but he couldn't give more than he has.

"Kimi did not do a bad job here. He told me he made too many mistakes but it's obvious he has to make mistakes - he's learning."

Raikkonen set several top 10 stage times, including a sixth-fastest time on Saturday, meaning he would have comfortably scored points had he not lost 26 minutes when he hit the bank on Friday.

The 2007 F1 champion reflected: "It was a really encouraging event, which allowed me to learn so much.

"From the start to the finish I felt I was improving all the time. Sure, we still have a lot to learn because the whole feeling is so different to what I had in Formula 1.

"But I'm getting a good idea of how to use the pace notes now and I understand the car a bit better as well.

"Now I'm looking forward to driving gravel on the next rally in Mexico; it should be a bit easier for me."



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see also
Raikkonen agrees rallying switch
04 Dec 09 |  Formula 1
Raikkonen rejects F1 for rallying
18 Nov 09 |  Formula 1
Ferrari confirm capture of Alonso
30 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Crash ends Raikkonen's WRC debut
02 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Raikkonen pips Hamilton to title
21 Oct 07 |  Formula 1


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