Kimi Raikkonen has revealed that winning the World Rally Championship will mean more to him than anything he achieved while in Formula One.
The Former Formula One world champion moves from the sport to the WRC this year and in an interview with Red Bulletin magazine admitted that winning the series would be a huge achievement for him.
“(Winning the WRC would mean) More than my F1 world championship title,” Raikkonen said ahead of his debut WRC season with Citroen.
“I’m just starting out and I can sense what a long journey it would be to get to that point.”
Raikkonen is fully aware of the challenge ahead of him and believes the WRC will be the greatest test of his career to date.
“It’s definitely the biggest challenge yet,” he added. “I’ve got to learn everything from scratch. But I want the challenge. I have to get to know the car, the rallies, how to work with my co-driver [Kaj Lindstrom], everything.
“I’m looking forward to it. And you’ve got to set yourself some competition if you really want to know how good you are. I’ll still be able to drive around the forest in a private rally car.”
“The first few rallies are bound to be tough. Until I know how fast the other drivers are, I’m holding back on any personal expectations. I’m sure I won’t manage to keep up with the top four [Loeb, Dani Sordo, Hirvonen, Latvala].
The Finn also believes that he will find the WRC more enjoyable, after criticising the constant politics which surround Formula One.
“In F1, politics gets in the way of the exciting side of things. The atmosphere in rallying is much nicer and there’s a lot less politics involved. It’s must more about how the driver performs.”
Now thirty, Raikkonen is fully motivated ahead of the season opener in Sweden and is relishing the chance to drive a WRC-spec rally car.
“I’m finding a bit of the young Kimi in me again,” he said. “A world rally car is quicker and tougher than the S2000 car I drove last year on the Rally Finland; it’s 10 times better to driver and has more power.
“It’s why you can still come out of critical situations. If the Fiat ever went sideways with its non-turbo engine, it was game over.”