At the end of the first day of the WRC’s Rally of France, Kimi Raikkonen is sitting in seventh place, pretty typical of his performance this season. He’s well back of the leaders, as well:
1. 1 S. LOEB M 1:18:27.8 0.0 0.0
2. 2 D. SORDO M 1:18:50.5 +22.7 +22.7
3. 7 S. OGIER M 1:18:53.4 +2.9 +25.6
4. 4 J. LATVALA M 1:19:09.6 +16.2 +41.8
5. 11 P. SOLBERG 1:19:13.6 +4.0 +45.8
6. 3 M. HIRVONEN M 1:20:18.6 +1:05.0 +1:50.8
7. 8 K. RÃ„IKKÃ–NEN M 1:21:55.2 +1:36.6 +3:27.4
8. 9 F. VILLAGRA M 1:24:02.4 +2:07.2 +5:34.6
9. 5 M. WILSON M 1:24:25.9 +23.5 +5:58.1
10. 43 K. BLOCK 1:25:29.2 +1:03.3 +7:01.4
He finished all the first day stages in that same seventh position, as well, so it isn’t like he’s had a particularly brilliant stage yet, either. That doesn’t strike me as boding well for his suddenly shooting up the leader board.
All the times are coming from the official WRC site.
I know it’s too early to make broad predictions, but it’s clear that Kimi’s WRC foray at this point has been fairly “meh.” Sure, he’s new to most of the circuits and the whole WRC experience. And sure next year might offer a more equal field with the changes to the cars… but has he shown you anything that really cries out for him to stay in WRC instead of returning to F1? (Setting aside, for a minute, the issue of where he might be having more “fun” etc.)
My counter to that is whether in a Renault he honestly could expect to be finishing much higher than seventh next year in F1. You have to figure the three top teams this year will be back at the front, which already claims six spots.
Maybe for Kimi, realistically, it is a matter of which series he’d rather run mid-pack in, and thus the whole issue does come down to: What’s more fun?
I still hope Kimi’s playing hardball as he waits for MINI to make him an offer he can’t refuse.