Kimi climbs that rally ladder, one step at a… OK, one step

The first day of the Rally of Turkey is complete, and former Formula 1 champ Kimi Raikkonen has finished what has to be the finest day of his short WRC career.

With nine stages complete, Raikkonen is eighth overall, 1:50 behind leader Sebastien Ogier. That’s a notch higher for Kimi than midway through the day, and he finished strong with a fifth place in Stage 9. He was just 3 seconds adrift of the stage’s victor, series leader Sebastien Loeb.

I think, importantly, Raikkonen is among the top nine who have pulled significantly ahead of the rest of the field. The difference between ninth place Matthew Wilson and 10th spotter Ott Tanak (really, Ott Tanak? Where’s Grace when I need her to clarify these names??) is a full 2:54.

This weekend, at least, Kimi is proving to be among the elite in WRC.

Sadly, and a bit amazingly, I don’t see any quotes yet from Kimi. I hope WRC isn’t already growing tired of milking the Kimster for all the PR he’s worth.

Here’s the day 1 standings:

Position Driver Make Time or Gap to Leader
1. Sebastien Ogier Citroen 55m32.7s
2. Dani Sordo Citroen + 5.5s
3. Mikko Hirvonen Ford + 12.2s
4. Petter Solberg Citroen + 18.5s
5. Sebastien Loeb Citroen + 24.9s
6. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford + 27.5s
7. Federico Villagra Ford + 1m42.9s
8. Kimi Raikkonen Citroen + 1m50.6s
9. Matthew Wilson Ford + 2m04.6s
10. Ott Tanak Mitsubishi + 4m59.1s

I’m going to anticipate a question: Why is F1B covering Kimi still? A few quick answers.

  1. We like him and think he’s among motorsports’ most interesting personalities. And from feedback we get, many of you agree.
  2. His success or lack thereof in WRC would seem to provide hints about whether he’ll return to F1.
  3. It’s a way “in” to WRC. As Todd says — as recently as the latest Downshift — we are centered on F1 but also cover other top-flight series, notably MotoGP and WRC. Here’s an opportunity to have a clearly relevant cross-over, if you will, between F1 and WRC.
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