Kimi scores first WRC points amid controversy

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Kimi Raikkonen maintained his eighth-place standing at the Jordan Rally, scoring his first WRC championship points this past weekend.

“From the beginning my goal was to get to the end of the rally and I’m really pleased that we’ve been able to do that even though the conditions were difficult,” said Raikkonen. “As the stages went on I’ve learned more and more, and my confidence has grown bigger as well. We came to Jordan with very little experience of the car on gravel and now we’ve practically doubled it. I’m getting to know the car better now, but the important thing as well is that I’ve really enjoyed these three days. We’re making progress, which is why we are here, and hopefully this will continue on the next round in Turkey.””From the beginning my goal was to get to the end of the rally and I’m really pleased that we’ve been able to do that even though the conditions were difficult,” said Raikkonen. “As the stages went on I’ve learned more and more, and my confidence has grown bigger as well. We came to Jordan with very little experience of the car on gravel and now we’ve practically doubled it. I’m getting to know the car better now, but the important thing as well is that I’ve really enjoyed these three days. We’re making progress, which is why we are here, and hopefully this will continue on the next round in Turkey.”

Kimi now stands 12th in the championship with four points.

Sebastien Loeb won the event, extending his lead in the championship. The weekend’s controversy came due to the off-tract tactics regarding road position and how to give the leading drivers the cleanest, most gravel-free road.

As a result, some of the top drivers are calling for a change to rules governing the starting order.

Both the Citroen and Ford teams employed tactics throughout the three-day gravel event in the Middle East to try to give their drivers the edge on the third round of the World Rally Championship.

The endless jostling culminated in Citroen instructing its Junior Team driver Sebastien Ogier to check in early for Saturday’s opening stage in order to run first on the road and clean the morning stages of the loose surface gravel for Sebastien Loeb, who should have tackled the stages first due to the fact he was leading overnight.

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Ford ordered Mikko Hirvonen – out of the frame for victory following his crash on day two – to arrive at the start of Saturday’s opening stage before team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala, in an effort to boost Latvala’s chances of overhauling Loeb for victory. Latvala, who finished second, conceded he didn’t ultimately have the pace to beat Loeb but added that the use of tactics had effectively ended his hopes of recording his first win of the season.

Here’s the final results from Jordan:

Position Driver Car Time/Gap to winner
1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen 3h51m35.9s
2. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford + 35.8s
3. Petter Solberg Citroen + 1m11.8s
4. Dani Sordo Citroen + 1m49.3s
5. Matthew Wilson Ford + 8m24.3s
6. Sebastien Ogier Citroen + 10m26.4s
7. Federico Villagra Ford + 11m28.0s
8. Kimi Raikkonen Citroen + 12m31.0s
9. Henning Solberg Ford + 14m08.6s
10. Xevi Pons Ford + 18m33.9s

Loeb leads the championship with 68 points, followed by Jari-Matti Latvala with 43 points and Mikko Hirvonen with 37. Citroen has pulled ahead of Ford in the constructors’ race, with 101 to Ford’s 87.

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