Finland’s 2007 Formula One champion Kimi Raikkonen has crashed on his first competitive event driving for the Citroen Junior World Rally Team.

Raikkonen was placed second overall in the Arctic Lapland Rally when his car left the road and crashed into a tree on the event’s second stage, the 23km Aittajarvi.

Kimi and co-driver Kaj Lindstrom were unhurt in the incident, but their C4 World Rally Car sustained damage to its right-hand front corner. With help from spectators the pair eventually got the car back on the road and underway again, but the episode cost them more than 15 minutes on the stage, and more than 20 minutes of penalty time.

The team is hopeful that once the car is repaired in service, Raikkonen will be able to continue in today’s competition.

Raikkonen and Lindstrom are tackling the winter event, the opening round of the Finnish championship, as a warm-up before their WRC campaign kicks off in Sweden on 11 February.

It is the first competitive outing for the duo in the Citroen C4 World Rally Car they will campaign this season. However it’s not a new event for the pair, who made their rally debut together there in 2009, finishing 13th in a Fiat Abarth Grande Punto S2000.

Before the crash, Raikkonen had got off to a good start. In perfect snowy conditions, and in a temperature of minus 20 degrees Celsius, he recorded the second fastest time though Friday’s opening stage, the 11.27km Rantasipi Pohjanhovi / Mantyvaara. The only man to beat him – by a margin of 5.5sec – was his fellow Citroen C4 driver, Dani Sordo, who is also using the event as a pre-season test.

After two stages, Sordo, now the sole World Rally Car driver in the predominantly Group N field, leads the rally by 26.1sec from the Estonian, Ott Tanak.



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