Kimi Raikkonen claimed his first rally victory, of sorts, last weekend, albeit a promotional head-to-head battle with endurance bike racer Taddy Blazusiak.
The show was put on by Red Bull, of course.
You can check the details at Kimi’s site — which is one of those Flash deals, I think, that makes the old copy and paste function obsolete — or there’s a wrap-up at the Red Bully Rally site:
After a tight and twisty start, the road opened up and became quicker: handing the advantage to the rally car at the finish. In the end, Kimi beat Taddy by just over 25 seconds, watched by more than 30,000 people. As part of the forfeit that had been agreed beforehand, Taddy was then faced with the task of washing Kimi’s car at the finish.
“Really, it was all about the fun today,” said Taddy, who now moves onto the serious business of trying to win the Red Bull Hare Scramble for the fourth consecutive time on Sunday. “It was a real privilege for me to compete against Kimi and I hope that we put on a good show. I tried my hardest, but in the end it wasn’t quite enough, so now I just have to congratulate Kimi. And wash his car too!”
Kimi concluded: “It’s the first time that I’ve ever done anything like this and I really enjoyed myself. It was a very close contest and in the end I think our better top speed in the rally car is what helped us. In the slow parts, it was much more evenly matched. I like bikes a lot, so it was great to meet Taddy and chat with him. Now I have some time free in Austria, so I am going to come back and watch the Red Bull Hare Scramble on Sunday to wish Taddy luck. It’s really exciting to watch.”
I think the biggest news here, if it is at all true, is that 30,000 people would come out to watch this made-for-the-audience event. I mean, we’re talking Turkish GP numbers, aren’t we?
I’m also surprised there haven’t been more of these types of events with Kimi, although we do all know he hates the sponsor events. But doing it as something that also will hone his skills behind the wheel — that seems like a win.
Kimi’s been steadily getting better results in WRC, too. He scored points with a 10th place finish a few weeks ago at the Rally of Portugal and put in one of the fastest times in the last superspecial stage.
If I were him, the prospect of maybe becoming a double world champion in these days when that doesn’t happen might keep me in WRC, especially if I were to finish the year strong (and have the inside line that Sebastien Loeb was going to be heading out!).