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Raikkonen and Hakkinen to contest Arctic Lapland Rally 09 Jan 2009

Rally winners Marcus Gronholm (FIN) / Timo Rautiainen (FIN) Toyota Celica Turbo 4WD. Finnish Rally Championship, 31st Arctic Rally, 26-28 January 1996. (L to R): Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren with Mika Hakkinen (FIN). Formula One World Championship, Rd 18, Brazilian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Interlagos, Brazil, 21 October 2006.

Former world champions Kimi Raikkonen and Mika Hakkinen are no strangers to the pressures of Formula One racing, but the Finnish pair are preparing to sample a different motorsport challenge later this month, after agreeing to compete in this year’s arduous Arctic Lapland Rally.

For Ferrari driver Raikkonen this year’s rally will be his first and for his debut the 29 year-old will race a Fiat Abarth Grande Punto S2000, alongside co-driver Kaj Lindstrom. Hakkinen, who contested the rally in 2003, 2004 and 2006, will be at the wheel of a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 9, together with Ilkka Kivimaki.

This year's staging of the annual event, which sees top drivers tackle freezing weather conditions as they race around Northern Finland in the heart of the Arctic Circle, will take place from January 22-24. Previous winners include former world rally champions Marcus Gronholm, Tommi Makinen and Hannu Mikkola.