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Early end for Raikkonen’s WRC debut in Finland 03 Aug 2009

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN), FIAT Punto Abarth, on stage 1. World Rally Championship, Rd9, Neste Oil Rally Finland, Jyvaskyla, Finland. Thursday 30 July 2009. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) in the service area World Rally Championship, Rd9, Neste Oil Rally Finland, Jyvaskyla, Finland. Day One, Friday 31 July 2009.

Kimi Raikkonen’s first outing in the World Rally Championship came to a premature end on Saturday when the Ferrari Formula One driver crashed out of the Finland Rally. Raikkonen’s car rolled into a ditch three kilometres into the day’s final stage.

Raikkonen and co-driver Kaj Lindstrom were unhurt in the accident, but the Finn’s Fiat Grande Punto Abarth S2000 was too badly damaged to continue, despite being dragged back on to the road by a group of spectators. Raikkonen had been lying a strong third in class and 15th overall prior to the crash, despite experiencing engine and suspension problems earlier in the day.

Praising Raikkonen’s efforts behind the wheel on his first gravel rally, Lindstrom told the official WRC website: “He proved he has the speed, which before the rally nobody knew for sure. Getting to the finish of the rally was the main thing here, but with the engine in such a bad shape we knew, realistically, that wasn't going to happen. Kimi wasn't overdriving to compensate for the engine, it was all down to being on the wrong line on a very tricky corner.”