From NASCAR to Rally, What Was Kimi Raikkonen Upto During his Sabbatical

January 8, 2020 5:24 pm

At the end of the 2009 season, Kimi Raikkonen decided to step away from Formula One briefly. However, he realised that he could not stay away from F1 for long and he returned in 2012. Since then, he has remained in the pinnacle of motorsport, but it still begs the question about what the veteran Finn did during his time away from F1.

During his sabbatical Kimi entered the WRC, achieving a best finish of fifth at Rally Turkey in 2010. The 2007 world champion took on the role of a full-time driver for the Citroën Junior Team. During his rallying tenure, he drove a Red Bull-sponsored Citroën C4 WRC.

What next for Kimi Raikkonen after WRC?

In 2011, Kimi Raikkonen made an interesting career choice when he raced in the American stock car racing series, NASCAR. A year later, he realised that he had missed being an F1 driver and returned to the sport with Lotus in 2012.

Many believed that he was making a mistake by returning and even questioned his choice of team. However, he proved all his critics wrong by snatching a few wins and even finishing 3rd in the championship. He would stay with the Lotus team for the 2013 season, finishing 5th in the championship. He notched up 2 wins and 12 podiums during his two-year stint.

Finally, Ferrari decided to reacquire his services in 2013 and he would remain with the team until 2018. During his second tenure with Ferrari, he racked up 25 podiums and one win. He had been beaten by teammate Sebastian Vettel for much of his stint but has now begun to perform better this season.

However, it seemed to be too little, too late as Ferrari have signed Alfa Romeo-Sauber rookie Charles LeClerc. In the meantime, Raikkonen will be taking over the seat that LeClerc vacated. Coincidentally, Sauber was the very team that he made his Formula One debut with back in 2001.

Dhruv George

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino. He has been an ardent follower of motorsports sport since 2001, holding Carlos Sainz Jr. and McLaren in high regard.

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